David Ayala-Zamora was born in El Salvador. His desire to achieve peace, justice and democracy in his homeland brought him from a Christian youth church leadership position to being an audacious labor organizer during the US-backed Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s. He was arrested by the El Salvador government, and jailed and tortured.
He arrived in the United State in 1990. Since then, he has committed himself to organizing and working on immigrant issues. His experience includes working for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project as a paralegal, talking to immigrants and employers across Washington, Oregon and Idaho about employement-based discrimination; helping to organize CASA Latina, a Seatle center for day laborers; and being one of the founders of the Comite Pro Amnestia y Justicia Social, which sought to bring more attention to immigration issues, including beginning the May 1st march in Seattle. Most recently, he has spent many years working for SEIU Local 6 in Seattle and Local 49 and 503 in Portland, helping to organize several successful campaigns in the private sector, most recently Service Master on Swan Island, Oregon.
David tells organizers he leads that "The organizer's job is to help people discover the power they have when they work together." In this context, he has helped hundreds of janitors, immigrants, and U.S. Citizens take risks in order to achieve common goals as members of society. He has three kids who keep him young.