Oscar A. Chacón is a co‐founder and executive director of Alianza Americas. Before stepping into his current role in 2007, Oscar served in leadership positions at the Chicago‐based Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Boston‐based Centro Presente, and several other community-based and international development organizations. Oscar has also served on multiple advisory committees to national and international processes including the Civil Society Consultation process associated with the Global Forum on Migration and Development and the World Social Forum on Migration. Oscar is a frequent national and international spokesperson on transnationalism, economic justice, the link between migration and development, migrant’s integration processes, human mobility, migration policies, racism and xenophobia; and U.S. Latino community issues.
Leadership and capacity building manager
Zorayda Ávila is originally from Zacapu, Michoacan, and now lives in Chicago. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Morelia University and a certificate in sexual education from the Mexican Institute of Sexology in Mexico City, as well as a graduate degree in citizen integration politics from the University of Valencia. Before joining Alianza Americas, Zory served as executive director of Casa Michoacan, a cultural and educational center in Chicago. She is a board member of the Network of Mexican Leaders and Organizations and a member of the Transnational Women's Collective (Colectivo de Mujeres Trasnacionales). Zory's focus areas are in mental health and human rights, with a particular focus on building women’s leadership and strengthening the capacity of immigrant women as community leaders.
Ximena Leyte Escalante is originally from Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her mother when she was eight years old. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Master of Arts in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Ximena first joined Alianza Americas in 2019 as part of her graduate internship in social policy and research. She later joined the team as a development consultant in August of 2021, before transitioning into her current role. Ximena supports the management of Alianza’s development efforts by writing and coordinating grants, strategizing individual fundraising, and helping manage the organization’s institutional support and partnerships. Above all, Ximena values working in community with people and is passionate about helping advance the fight for social equity and justice for migrant communities across the Americas.
Based in Chicago, IL, Sarah is a transnational social worker with a desire to promote humane migration policies throughout the Americas through strategic organizing and building collective power. Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Creighton University and now holds a graduate degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice with a specialization in Global Social Development and a Graduate Certificate in Latin American and Caribbean studies. Sarah spent two years living and working throughout Latin America promoting human rights and now serves as Alianza America’s Membership Organizer. In this role, she supports member organizations through grassroots and digital organizing, capacity building, and legislative advocacy.
Associate Director of Operations
Annette Uriostegui serves as Alianza America’s associate director of operations. In this role, Annette seeks to give administrative support to her team while finding innovative ways to sustain and maximize organizational capacity. Before joining Alianza Americas in June 2020, Annette’s leadership and organizational management come from managing legal offices and community-based non-profit organizations both in her hometown of Melrose Park and Chicago. After being enlisted in the Army National Guard for 8 years, Annette received a Bachelors in Gender and Women Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As someone whose family has been impacted by the broken immigration system in the United States, her personal experience as a Mexican-American daughter of immigrant parents is what has always rooted her work in social justice and advocacy with an emphasis on human and immigrant rights.
Climate Justice Organizer
Melanie Minuche joined Alianza Americas as the organization’s Climate Justice Organizer in November 2021. In this role, she is helping develop and drive the organization’s climate justice agenda through a transnational, migration, and racial justice lens. Before joining Alianza America, Melanie worked with asylum-seeking unaccompanied migrant youth from West Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia, many of whom were fleeing gender-based violence, political persecution, and climate displacement. Melanie graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a minor in Communication/Advocacy and Social Change studies. As a daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, Melanie’s passion for advancing human mobility and migration rights stems from envisioning a world free of borders and rooted in community.
Data and Support Resources Manager
Based in Chicago, IL, Jonathan joined the Alianza Americas team in November of 2021 as the Data and Support Resources Manager for the Somos Salud project. In this role, Jonathan helps manage, process, report and analyze data for two federally funded projects. Jonathan has previously worked on a campaign promoting a series of immigrant rights legislations and as a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he obtained both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Latin American and Latino Studies. Jonathan hopes to use his deep understanding of Latin American and Latino history and his commitment to humane policy to help carry out Alianza Americas mission and help the Somos Salud project address health disparities in the Latino community.
National Campaigns Manager
Yanira Arias joined the Alianza Americas team in August 2014 to coordinate the network’s response to the detention and stigmatization of thousands of Central American children and their families at the U.S. southern border. In December of that same year, she became Alianza Americas' new national campaigns manager. A native of El Salvador, she brings more than a decade of experience in the field of public health, with special expertise in community mobilization and participation, community organizing, and capacity building to address health disparities and social justice issues. From 2003 to 2012 Yanira was part of the Latino Commission on AIDS in New York, where she served as Director of Community Organizing for the Latinos in the Deep South. In that role, she led the development and implementation of the Dennis deLeon Sustainable Leadership Institute for emerging leaders in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Yanira graduated from the University of El Salvador in 1996 with a degree in journalism.
Helena Olea currently serves as associate Deputy Director at Alianza Americas. She is an international human rights lawyer with advocacy and litigation experience before intergovernmental bodies and governmental agencies. Helena is an attorney authorized to practice law in Colombia, with an L.L.M. from the University of Notre Dame. She has over 12 years of teaching and research experience on human rights, migration, refugees, and gender. She has also worked for non-governmental organizations in Colombia and Chile. Helena has dedicated her professional life to the human rights of migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons, and women, combining advocacy and academia.
Somos Salud Project Director
Bruce Tyler is the Somos Salud Project Director at Alianza Americas, managing the organization’s national health initiatives. He currently oversees two federal grant projects funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In this role, Bruce works with Alianza’s member organizations to develop and implement health education and outreach strategies that address health inequities impacting Latinx and Latin American immigrant communities. Bruce has extensive experience working with immigrants and refugees from Latin American countries. In his previous experience Bruce helped manage a child nutrition program for farmworker families in the Rio Grande Valley under La Unión del Pueblo Entero (formerly United Farm Workers) in San Juan, Texas. During his time in Boston Bruce helped refugees from Central American countries obtain official refugee status by supporting their application process through INS. Most recently, Bruce worked at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) as a professor teaching Latin American Studies, Mexican Studies, and Latin American Environmental Studies. Bruce holds a Master’s degree from the Universidad de Guadalajara, where he completed fieldwork among artisanal fishing communities in Jalisco, Mexico. He is ABD in Development Sociology from Cornell University, and is currently completing a MPH in Community Health Sciences at UIC.