Officers

President

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Emily Tapia-Lopez
Emily Tapia-Lopez is a Vice President at Resolute Consulting – an award-winning national strategic communications and public affairs firm. Ms. Tapia-Lopez has diverse experience in urban planning, community development and transportation in the public-, private-, and not-for-profit sectors and manages Resolute’s Infrastructure practice.

Ms. Tapia-Lopez develops strategic communication tools that help assess the political risk of infrastructure investments and guides the public process and stakeholder outreach for clients.Ms. Tapia-Lopez previously served as a manager at the Metropolitan Planning Council, where she focused on transportation policies at the federal-, state- and local levels. She conducted the research, strategic communications, and advocacy for the Public-Private Partnership for Illinois Act in Springfield.

Ms. Tapia-Lopez has also traveled all over the world – extensively throughout Europe and South America. After Hurricane Katrina, she joined colleagues in the rebuilding effort in New Orleans. Ms. Tapia-Lopez was Graduate of the Year at the University of Illinois and received the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) graduate scholarship for excellence in transportation. She is the immediate past president of Transport Chicago and is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the American Planning Association (APA) and WTS Chicago.

She holds a master’s in urban planning and public affairs from the University of Illinois Chicago and a bachelor of arts in political science from Loyola University Chicago.

Vice President

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Delia Ramirez

Born and raised in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, Delia Ramirez was highly-involved with her local church during her formative and adult years. This involvement provided her with leadership and travel opportunities through which she developed a strong commitment to community development as well as a professional skill-set which equipped her to act upon that commitment.

To this end, Ms. Ramirez began working for Humboldt Park Social Services (HPSS) at the young age of 18, and she was promoted to Executive Director at the age of 21 – a role she held for nine years. Under Ms. Ramirez’s leadership, HPSS tripled its operating budget, quadrupled its number of employees, increased its service delivery to over 2,500 community households.

In 2005, she founded the Center for Changing Lives (CCL)  – a community support center that provides housing, employment, and case management services for the homeless and families at-risk of becoming homeless in the Logan Square and Humboldt Park areas. Ms. Ramirez also led the successful implementation of the organization’s five-year strategic plan and the development of a new strategic plan that was adopted late 2010 with a focus on resource development, sustainability, and strengthening infrastructure.

Ms. Ramirez left HPSS in 2013 in order to pursue a one-year Emerging Leader Fellowship from The Chicago Community Trust which provides leadership training, professional development training, and the opportunity to conduct community development research both nationally and internationally.

The completion of that fellowship (together with her proven ability to address community issues) moved the United Methodist Church of the Northern Illinois to appoint Ms. Ramirez as its Director of Administration and Community Engagement for Humboldt Park United Methodist Church in April 2014. In her leadership role, she worked to build a community social justice center and assess and develop initiatives for creative facility developments and cost efficiency.

In February 2016, Ms. Ramirez became the Deputy Director of Community Renewal Society, one of Chicago’s oldest faith-based social justice organization. In her new role, she will promote economic justice through assisting with managing the organization’s Development, Communications, Organizing, and Policy Units.

Secretary

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Raph Cintrón, Ph.D.
Ralph Cintrón, Ph.D. is a joint Associate Professor in English and Latin American and Latino Studies at the Universtity of Illinois Chicago. His interests are in rhetorical studies, ethnography, urban theory, political economy, transnationalism, and immigration.

Research wise, he has done fieldwork in specific Puerto Rican and Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago.Dr. Cintrón has also done fieldwork in Kosova and co-authored essays on humanitarian interventionism and international state building.

He has published about twenty-five journal articles and book chapters, and has given over 150 keynotes, invited lectures, professional papers at conferences, or presentations in the United States and Europe. One of his books, Angels’ Town: Chero Ways, Gang Life, and Rhetorics of the Everyday, won honorable mention for the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing from the American Anthropological Association. He was also Co-Principal Investigator on the recently published “60 Years of Migration: Puerto Ricans in Chicagoland.”

Dr. Cintrón has been a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar on the political science faculty at the University of Prishtina in Prishtina, Kosova 2007-2008, and a former member of the Executive Board of the Rhetoric Society of America. He has been a member of Chicago’s Puerto Rican Agenda since 2002.

Currently, he is co-editing with Robert Hariman (Northwestern University) a book titled Power, Rhetoric, and Political Culture: The Texture of Political Action. He is also currently authoring Democracy as Fetish: Fieldwork, Rhetoric, and the Oligarchic Condition.

Treasurer

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Jose Luis Garcia

Jose Garcia joined Northwest Community Credit Union as President and CEO in December 2012. Mr. Garcia has over 27 years of financial experience – 16 of which have been in the credit union industry. He was previously CFO of Advance Financial Federal Credit Union based in Schererville, Indiana. As a seasoned credit union executive, Mr. Garcia has acquired a significant amount of operational acumen with emphasis in finance, technology, investment management, and marketing.These skills have equipped him to play an integral role assisting the credit unions at which he served to prosper during challenging economic times. He is a strong advocate of the credit union movement.Born in Brownsville, Texas and raised in Chicago, Mr. Garcia attended Saint Xavier University and graduated with bachelor’s of business administration degree in accounting. He resides in the South Loop/Pilsen neighborhood with his wife Maria, daughter Kristina, and son Nicholas.

Directors

Director

http://lucha.org/wp-content/uploads/spacer2.jpgcd1Muhammad Gigani Muhammad is partner at Deloitte Tax with over 15 years focused on the taxation of closely-held operating businesses in corporate and flow-through solution (and their owners), global businesses, and family offices.

Muhammad serves as a Chicago office leader in the Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services, where he drives Deloitte’s efforts in the middle-market within the tax practice.

Muhammad’s clients include manufacturing, distribution, and technology companies, as well as family offices and investment partnerships. He is among the firm’s resources in Deloitte’s private aviation tax practice.

Muhammad leads various diversity efforts inside and outside Deloitte, leveraging his Mexican and Pakistani background. He was among the founders of the Deloitte Hispanic Network Business Resource Group (HNET) and was HNET’s first National Practice Management Office (PMO) Leader. He has served on the National Board of Directors for Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and recently was the president of its Chicago chapter.

Muhammad is a Chicago native and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Muhammad is the diversity lead for the firm’s relationship with the university.

He has been recognized by the Illinois CPA Society as the 2011 Emerging Leader in Advancing Diversity. In 2012, Latino Leaders Magazine recognized Muhammad as one of the 25 Leaders of the Future of Chicago. In 2013, Hispanic Executive Magazine profiled Muhammad for his ongoing efforts in the community. In 2014, Muhammad was the first recipient of the National Latino Education Institute’s Emerging Leader Award.

Muhammad’s recent civic involvement includes serving as Treasurer for the National Latino Education Institute (NLEI), the Gala Committee for MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund), board of directors for ALPFA, an advisor for the Colleges to Careers program for Harold Washington College (City Colleges of Chicago).

Director

http://lucha.org/wp-content/uploads/spacer2.jpgDaniel J. Lopez, Jr., Ph.D. Daniel J. López, Jr., Ph.D. is Vice President of Student Affairs at Northeastern Illinois University. Dr. López has almost 20 years of experience in public and private higher education institutions.

Throughout his administrative career, Dr. López has been involved with leading comprehensive academic support services, developmental education, and student affairs units. He has experience with strategic planning, fiscal management, grant writing, program assessment, and staff supervision and training. His research interests focuses on the student involvement, academic performance and retention of first generation college students and its impact on college campuses.

Dr. López is very committed to the empowerment of the Latino community and is a tireless advocate for intercultural dialogue, understanding, and respect. He serves on the executive board of the Illinois Latino Council in Higher Education (ILACHE) and is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and other professional organizations that promote access to higher education opportunities and support the advancement of Latinos in the U.S.

Dr. López has received several distinguished academic and community service awards. He holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Illinois State University, a master of education from Loyola University in Chicago, a bachelor of arts in communication from University of Illinois at Springfield, and an Associate of Arts from Harold Washington College.

Director

Alma Tello

        Alma Tello

Alma M. Tello is a Chicago native and a proud U.S. Air Force veteran. Ms. Tello was stationed in Eielson AFB, Fairbanks, Alaska and deployed to Kuwait during Operation Endure Freedom. She is currently a Senate Aide to Senator Richard J. Durbin at his Chicago office and in charge of veteran, military and community development affairs for the Chicagoland area.

Ms. Tello is an active advocate for veterans’ access to quality healthcare, affordable housing and gainful employment. She is member of the City of Chicago Council on Veterans Affairs and is also member of the new subcommittee on women veteran affairs. Prior to working for Senator Durbin, she was a Congressional Aide to Congressman Mike Quigley, 5th District where she focused on housing and foreclosure affairs as well as outreach to the veteran and Latino community in Chicago.

Ms. Tello holds Masters in Urban Planning and Policy, with a concentration in economic development from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.A in Communication Studies from Loyola University, Cum Laude.  As an avid traveler, she has traveled to 13 countries (and counting) and enjoys learning about urban planning and development methods throughout the world.

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