Alianza Americas Boosts Transnational Leadership Capacity with Inaugural Leadership Institute


For Immediate Release

Alianza Americas Boosts Transnational Leadership Capacity with Inaugural Leadership Institute

Activities launch with delegation to Mexico to participate as International Observers in July 1 Elections

Sara McElmurry: 312-351-3890 or

CHICAGO, IL—June 29, 2018—Alianza Americas announces today the launch of a new phase of its “Instituto de Liderazgo,” a year-long leadership development program designed to bolster the collective capacity of US-based migrant-serving organizations to strengthen communities across the Americas. The goal of the Instituto is to equip local immigrant leaders, hailing from Latin American and Caribbean countries, with a global perspective on the policies, realities, and contexts that shape migration, building a generation of local leaders with cross-issue, cross-border perspectives.

Institute activities will kick off with a delegation to Mexico, where participants will serve as international observers during the July 1 Mexican elections. A contentious presidential race will have significant implications for immigrant communities in the United States.

“The Mexican election is an important example of the importance of transnational engagement from US-based migrant communities: The outcomes of this election will reverberate across borders,” said Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas. “This delegation is both a critical act of transnational civic engagement and an ideal launch to our program, which will focus on the dynamics of human mobility—driven by complex economic, social, political and cultural factors—across the Americas. This perspective is critical to understanding current events, yet many people lack that transnational, intersectional analysis.”

The Institute marks a new approach to building transnational leadership that can break out of old patterns and find new, transformative solutions to our shared problems. At a time when migrant communities are experiencing a mean-spirited and relentless political assault in the United States, the temptation is to double down on highly localized, often insular work.
“Our communities are best served when we address local challenges with an understanding of their multifaceted roots and multiple connections across borders. Investing in transnational leadership in our communities is a core tenet of Alianza Americas’ long-term vision to improve the lives of families across borders,” added Chacón.

The Institute’s 14 participants will follow a multi-disciplinary curriculum that builds on each participant’s unique experiences, perspectives, and knowledge, while using a popular education methodology. Participants hail from four countries and represent nine states across the US. The cohort includes recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), along with indigenous leaders, people with disabilities, and members of the TLGBQAI+ community. Participants were selected from a pool of nominations received from Alianza Americas’ member organizations across the country.

“Immigrants and refugees face shared challenges, but our communities are not monolithic,” said Zorayda Avila, campaign and outreach manager with Alianza Americas. “We intentionally built this initial cohort to reflect the diversity of experiences and backgrounds found in communities across the country. Addressing shared challenges requires our leadership to understand our diversity and to be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to pursue transformational changes in our societies.”

The 2018-2019 cohort of Alianza Americas’ Instituto de Liderazgo includes:
● Dennis C Aguiluz, CRECEN, Texas
● Gabriela Belén Ceja, Club San Juanico, Illinois
● Alejandro Cordova, Lila Latinxs LGTBQ Initiative Inc, North Carolina
● Guadalupe de la Cruz, We Count, Florida
● Katy Gil, Hondureños Contra el SIDA, New York
● Daisy González, Colaborativa CHELSEA, Massachusetts
● Ana Karen Gutierrez, Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), Tennessee
● Elsa Lopez, Club Nueva Visión de Cheranastico, Illinois
● Janet Martinez Frente Indígena de organizaciones Binacional (FIOB), California
● Mario Paredes, Centro Presente, Massachusetts
● Vanesa Romero, Asociación de Salvadoreños de Los Angeles (ASOSAL), California
● Alejandro Rodríguez, Living Hope Wheelchair Association, Texas
● Estrella Sánchez, Comunidad Estrella, Georgia
● Vanessa Velasco, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN.SF.ORG), California

The Instituto is made possible with generous support from the Porticus Foundation and the WK Kellogg Foundations. Visit for details.

Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more
than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at