Sophia Zaman - Executive Director. She advocates for policies that advance justice for low-wage workers, oversees operations, & grows strategic resources for the Chicagoland worker center movement. Sophia brings over 5 years of experience organizing on issues pertaining to racial, economic, and gender justice. Before joining RTF, she was the elected President of the U.S. Student Association, where she represented over one million college students at the White House, Department of Education, and Congress on policies related to affordable and accessible higher education for working-class students of color. She is a founding member of Temp Worker Justice, the only national organization dedicated to addressing issues facing temporary workers. In her free time, Sophia is also a collective member with Chicago Desi Youth Rising, where she develops youth ages 14-21 who trace their heritage to South Asia and the diaspora to be social change agents. She is the proud daughter of her Bangladeshi immigrant mama, who taught her to always seek justice and live purposefully.
Mark Birhanu- Equal Justice Works Fellow. Mark graduated from Yale Law School where he spent his time in legal clinics that focused on employment litigation for low-wage workers and issues faced by returning citizens. Mark was formerly an intern with the Community Activism Law Alliance and has been assisting low-wage workers throughout his time in law school. Mark is leading the RTF Expungement Clinic to provide legal help and services to Black residents who have records.
Ugo Okere – Policy Director. Ugo is a former aldermanic candidate, and the former lead organizer for the Raise Chicago campaign, a coalition of community organizations and labor unions fighting to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021 for all workers. In 2019, he ran for alderman of the 40th ward in Chicago's City Council as the second youngest candidate in the city, and the youngest candidate in the race at 21 years old. Over the course of his career, he has worked in several government offices including the Chicago Federal Executive Board, Chicago City Clerk's Office, Congressman Mike Quigley's Office, and the Evanston City Clerk's office. He also served as chairman of youth community organization Fuerza del Sol. A Nigerian immigrant and Chicago native, Ugo graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and Political Science.
Kara Rodriguez - Communications & Development Director. Kara Rodriguez is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in Theater and has spent the past 6 years advocating for the lives and rights of people of color. Before joining RTF, Kara worked at the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC), supporting food workers through equitable food policies and initiatives. At CFPAC, Kara organized the13th and 14th annual Chicago Food Policy Summits and supported the Illinois Coalition for Cooperative Advancement's effort to pass HB 3663 the Illinois Limited Worker Cooperative Advancement Act.
Ada Sandoval – Staff Attorney. Ada graduated from Lake Forest College with a major in Sociology and Anthropology. After college Ada worked as a paralegal for three years before starting law school. Ada graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law where she earned her Labor and Employment Law Certificate and her Public Interest Law Certificate. During her time at Chicago-Kent Ada focused on getting hands-on experience through various externships. Ada externed for Judge Valderrama at the Chancery Division in the Circuit Court of Cook County, she was a Coles Fellow at the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and she was the Public Interest Law Initiative Spring Legal Intern at Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing. Ada is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, she is fluent in Spanish, and she seeks to protect the rights of low-wage workers.