Claremont resident named to board of advocacy organization

Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera, a Mexican-American civil and human rights leader, has joined the board of directors and southern California advisory board for the nation’s leading end-of-life choice organization, Compassion & Choices.

A resident of Claremont, Rev. Castuera will advocate for the recently launched Compassion & Choices’ campaign to allow death with dignity for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in California.

A dedicated activist, Rev. Castuera has championed numerous causes that have grown quickly into wider acceptance. He was the national chaplain for Planned Parenthood for six years, married gay couples on national and international television, and has been a strong voice in the movement to legalize the medical practice of aid in dying for terminally ill adults. Five states currently allow it: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico.

“I am very excited for this opportunity to get more deeply involved in the end-of-life choice movement during this critical moment in its history,” said Rev. Castuera. “As a co-author of Oregon’s first in the nation death-with-dignity law, Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee is a leader on this issue. I know we will make a great team because I can help this great organization with outreach to the Hispanic, religious, civil and human rights communities.”

Born and raised in Puebla, Mexico, Rev. Castuera has been a pastor in Mexico, Hawaii and California. Currently, he is the director of the Latin America Project of the Center for Process Studies at the Claremont School of Theology. He also holds a doctor of religion degree from Claremont School of Theology and taught Contemporary Theology at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology for 25 years.

“Ignacio’s expertise on advocacy and theology make him a uniquely suited candidate to help advise Compassion & Choices about how to take the end-of-life choice movement to the next level,” said Coombs Lee, an attorney who was an ER and ICU nurse for 25 years. “He also will be an especially valuable asset to help us advance our campaign to allow death with dignity in California.”

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