DeAngelo Bester, Worker Center for Racial Justice
DeAngelo Bester is the Executive Director of the Workers Center for Racial Justice. He has worked as both a community and labor organizer for nearly 15 years. DeAngelo has led local, state, and national organizing campaigns that advanced racial justice around issues such as educational equity, preservation and expansion of affordable housing, re-entry, and increasing access to living wage jobs for Black workers. In 2012, DeAngelo left his job with National People's Action (NPA) after nearly six years to start the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) and its sister 501c4 organization, the Center for Racial and Gender Equity.
Jose Frausto, Chicago Workers' Collaborative
Ana Hernandez, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos
Laura Garza, Arise Chicago
Laura Garza is the Worker Center Director for Arise Chicago, a non-profit organization devoted to workplace injustices and worker advocacy in the Chicagoland area. Laura’s passion for worker rights is not accidental. As an immigrant born in Monterrey, Mexico, and young organizer in Chicago, she partnered with a variety of non-profits to organize youth leadership programs and continued her passion for workers as a college student working with migrant farm workers. For 23 years, Laura worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 fighting for economic justice while centering racial, immigrant, and environmental justice in all of her work. Laura held various leadership positions over her tenure at SEIU and was always grounded in her passion developed at a young age – organizing. Women rights have also been important for her. Ensuring that women, especially women of color, are represented in the workplace and feel safe from any forms of harassment has been essential to her everyday work. Laura has held key leadership posts: former board member for Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Arise Chicago. Laura is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a major in Sociology. Laura biggest devotion is to family and counts being the mother to Diego and Maya as her biggest personal accomplishment.
Marcos Ceniceros, Warehouse Workers for Justice
Marcos started organizing with young people on the south side of Chicago and across the city on dismantling the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline and fighting against public school privatization during the 2011 school year. He was later involved in campaigns for an Elected School Board in Chicago and raising the minimum wage in Illinois, as well as various campaigns to protect immigrant families and Black and Brown Chicagoans. His work in strategic community-labor organizing, grassroots leadership development, civic engagement, and training culminates through building a progressive platform prioritizing community investment, affordable housing, police accountability, jobs programs, and progressive revenue. Marcos joined Warehouse Workers for Justice in the Spring of 2021 and is now serving as the Executive Director, continuing his work of building power alongside working people and their communities throughout the city and state.
Miguel Enrique Alvelo Rivera, Latino Union of Chicago
Miguel Enrique Alvelo Rivera is a migrant from Puerto Rico who came to the United States in 2007. He is the executive director of Latino Union of Chicago and has been a life-long educator, advocate, and believer in the power of people to change the World for the better. Co-founder of the community organizing, advocacy, and human rights group, Chicago Boricua Resistance and the Boricua Resistance National Alliance, he's been active in community, environmental, and labor movements since he was a teenager in Puerto Rico. He's also worked as an Uber driver and delivery person, as a bartender, and as an educator in theater of the oppressed, adult education, and youth programming. He exalts the potential of coalition work and mutual support and is deeply committed to shifting the power dynamics in our communities away from the monied elite back into the hands of the workers who make our society run.
Martin Unzueta, Chicago Community & Workers Rights
Martin Unzueta is the Executive Director of Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights and works primarily with Latin@ immigrant workers in the Chicagoland area. Martin is an immigrant from Mexico City and when he first immigrated here, he was a worker for a print shop and began encountering several injustices in the workplace. There, he became involved with Chicago Typographical Union and was introduced to worker organizing. Martin was unjustly fired from the company while he was organizing a union with other coworkers. This spurred a lawsuit, Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, in which the company retaliated against the workers for trying to unionize and exploited their immigration status which resulted in a degrading decision that divided the working class into two parts – documented and undocumented workers. Martin’s passion for empowering workers is reflective of his own experience as a worker and hopes that all workers, regardless of status, will be honored and protected from further injustices.