About Us

March 21, 2013

Mission

Pilsen Alliance is a social justice organization committed to developing grassroots leadership in Pilsen and neighboring working class, immigrant communities in Chicago’s Lower West Side. We work for quality public education, affordable housing, government accountability and healthy communities.

Our goals include using innovative community education tools and programs, direct action organizing campaigns and advocacy initiatives reflecting the popular education philosophy of building social consciousness for personal and social collective transformation.

History

Established as an industrial area in the mid-1800s, Pilsen has long been a thriving immigrant community. As the population evolved from Bohemian to Polish to predominately Mexican, the community retained its working-class roots. However, during the past ten years, significant development has occurred in the area, leading many Pilsen residents to fear that the forces of gentrification would soon displace the thriving community they had worked so hard to build.

In 1998, as the University of Illinois-Chicago expanded southward and the City of Chicago created the Pilsen Industrial Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, local leaders recognized the need to organize. They hosted a Community Congress for Pilsen residents, community-based organizations, and businesses to develop a strategic plan for community preservation. The creation of the Pilsen Alliance was part of that plan and the organization is now responsible for convening an open community congress every two years. The Pilsen Alliance has achieved considerable victories in the communities of Pilsen, Marshall Square, Little Village, North Lawndale and Cicero.

Who We Are

 

Pilsen Alliance Executive Board (2018)

Magda Ramirez-Castaneda (President) – Retired public employee, co-author Chicanas of 18th St.

Rosa Esquivel (Secretary) – Caseworker at Illinois Action for Children, CPS parent

Cristina Rodriguez (Treasurer) – Business owner, CPS parent & long time Pilsen resident

Martha Herrera – Retired CPS Teacher & long time Pilsen resident

Javier Ruiz – Metropolitan Tenant Organization organizer & life long Pilsen resident

Ana “Jade” Nava – Local Artist and CPS parent

Mashuska Mateo – Artist and educator

Eva Corona – Parent and CPS teacher

Karla De Jesus – Youth representative

Karla Velasco – DePaul student & activist

STAFF

Byron Sigcho  Executive Director  (bsigcho@gmail.com)

Moises Moreno, Community Organizer, moymoreno.pilsenalliance@gmail.com

Gladys Frieson, Accountant/Book Keeping, gfry52004@yahoo.co

 

Committee Chairs

 

  • Housing Committee – Jose Padilla, life time Pilsen resident and tenant  
  • Education Committee – Eva Corona, Parent and CPS teacher  
  • Youth Committee – Karla Velasco
  • Immigration Committee (Pilsen en Defensa) – Hector Mozo, William Vickery and Ramona Roy 

 

 

Our Funders

 

Crossroads Fund

Woods Foundation

Ben & Jerry’s Foundation

Wieboldt Foundation

Chicago Teachers Union Foundation

Chicago Housing Initiative

Landau Foundation

American Heart Association

Addler Institute

SEIU Health Care

Membership ($60 per year)