Alianza Americas celebrates the successful conclusion of its 2018-19 Leadership Institute

Alianza Americas celebrates the successful conclusion of its 2018-19 Leadership Institute


CHICAGO, July 1, 2019  Alianza Americas wrapped up its 2018-2019 Leadership Institute on June 21.  The twelve-month intensive program focused on building a group of leaders who think critically, adapt quickly, make connections– across issues and geographies, and work toward transformative change.  “In this moment, when it seems we are constantly reacting to another assault on immigrant communities, it is critically important to invest in building power for the long haul with this group of emerging leaders,” said Alianza Americas Executive Director Oscar Chacón.

Over the past year, Alianza Leadership Institute members learned together in three different in-person workshops, and nine virtual training sessions, complemented by individual leadership opportunities.   Some of the Alianza Leaders participated in transnational work– including elections observations in Mexico and migrant advocacy at a United Nations meeting in Morocco. Others took up critical leadership roles in advocating for individuals with Temporary Protected Status.  Several members collaborated in community-driven research on workplace risks to immigrant workers.

The 2018-19 Leaders comprised a diverse cohort– with 12 people from 4 countries of origin (El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Guatemala), living in 9 different US states.  It included people who are experiencing all the pain of the current migration system– people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and two with recently approved asylum cases.  Participants included members of indigenous and afro-Latino communities, people from the LGBTQ community, as well as individuals with disabilities. “Latin American immigrants and our communities of origin face many shared challenges, but we often work in isolation,” said Zorayda Avila, coordinator of the Leadership Institute.  “The Leadership Institute creates a space to make those connections and generate transformative change,” she added.

The following individuals comprised the 2018-2019 Alianza Leadership cohort:

  • Dennis Christian Aguiluz, from the Central American Resource Center in Houston (CRECEN), in Texas.
  • Gabriela Belén Ceja, from Club San Juanico, in Illinois.
  • Alejandro Córdova, from Lila Latinxs LGTBQ Initiative Inc, in North Carolina.
  • Guadalupe de la Cruz, from We Count, in Florida.
  • Katy Gil, of Hondurans Against AIDS, in New York.
  • Daisy González, from Chelsea Collaborative, in Massachusetts.
  • Ana Karen Gutierrez, of the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), in Tennessee.
  • Elsa López, from Club Nueva Visión de Cheranástico, in Illinois.
  • Mario Paredes, from Centro Presente, in Massachusetts.
  • Alejandro Rodríguez, of  Living Hope Wheelchair Association, in Texas.
  • Estrella Sánchez, from Comunidad Estrella, in Georgia.
  • Vanessa Velasco, from Central American Resources Center-San Francisco (CARECEN SF), California.

This program was made possible thanks to the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF).

Applications will open soon for the 2019-20 Leadership Institute. Keep an eye out 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

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