Meet Our Staff Alexandra Sossa Executive Director Alexandra Sossa has more than 30 years of experience performing community outreach and education for very low-income Latino immigrants. She has a long history of public service dating back to her work with coffee plantation workers in Colombia, where she also worked for nearly a decade with the Attorney General’s Office. She has educated low-income workers on their rights in the United States, Spain and Colombia. While in Spain, Alexandra helped citizens of Mexico navigate through the Spanish legal system via the Mexican Embassy. Ms. Sossa graduated from the University of Medellin School of Law, Colombia and is certificated as a bilingual Mediator at the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago, Illinois. She is alumni of the Center for Leadership Innovation and also holds a Non-Profit Management certification from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In March of 2019, she was awarded the Foundation Award from the Illinois Human Rights Commission -IHRC-, to honor her commitment in promoting and cultivating women’s rights, freedom and achievement in Illinois. Alexandra is presently the Executive Director of the Farmworker & Landscaper Advocacy Project –FLAP – Proyecto de Ayuda para Trabajadores del Campo y Jardineros, a non-profit organization dedicated to improve working conditions for low-income workers and their households in the following industries: cannery, farms, greenhouse, landscaping, meat, nursery, packinghouse, poultry, restaurants and snow plowing. The organization carries out its mission through community outreach and education, litigation, community legal education, information and referrals, partnering with other organizations to fight human labor trafficking, preventing family separations by helping immigrants secure dual citizenship for their children and during the COVID-19 pandemic has facilitated the access to cash transfers to very low-income populations to supplement lost wages. She first came to FLAP in summer, 2001 and since then, Alexandra has played an instrumental role in the success of the non-profit’s continued growth. Throughout her years of service with this organization, she has educated low income immigrants about their rights in the United States, developed working relationships with more than 150 organizations, including law firms and foundations, in Illinois and other States in the USA, and has supported attorneys providing legal assistance to a countless number of very low-income immigrants, migrant and seasonal workers in the area. She has also written for several newspapers in Illinois, Spain and Colombia, been interviewed by the media countless times and has been invited to speak at events about issues that affect very low-income immigrant latino workers in the USA. Her passion for helping these workers, fighting human labor trafficking, wage theft and helping families stay together in the event of deportation by facilitating the process of getting dual citizenship for their children is immediately apparent when she speaks. She is a strident advocate for the very low-income Latino population. Under Alexandra’s Leadership, FLAP’s success speaks for itself. Since its founding, FLAP has filed 210 cases in Federal and State courts, 90 percent representing multiple workers. It has sent 85 demand letters, recovering almost 5.0 million dollars in back wages and damages for very low-income Latino immigrant workers. Since March 15th through October 15th, there have been more than 21,300 calls for FLAP with about 20,800 calls related to COVID-19 for that period of time. Monthly call volume is usually around 240 calls. FLAP has secured one-time $500 cash donations to 2,100 very low-income Latinx individuals making an impact on roughly 12,600 family members for a total of $1,050,500 cash distribution. 98,768 COVID-19 educational materials with information and resources have been delivered. 2,496 Know your Rights presentations have been delivered. 31,122 masks have been distributed. Of those 23,171 went directly to Illinois’ Farmworkers and 4,052 to immigrant kids. Alexandra is dedicated to her craft and is truly committed to improving the working conditions for low-income workers across Illinois and the USA. She is a native Spanish speaker and is fluent in English. Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone:847-668-2114 Arlo Chapple Development & Communications Assistant Arlo Chapple is the Development and Communications Assistant at FLAP. He works with the Board of Directors and Executive Director implementing the organization’s development and communications plan. Arlo has a passion for helping the Latino low-income immigrant community. At FLAP, he helps the organization grow and tell the story of the important work it does to improve working conditions in Illinois. Arlo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Rochester in 2007 with a concentration in English and Creative Writing. Following graduation, he worked for a small manufacturer, working to make sustainable, eco-friendly skateboards. After that, using his hand-on knowledge of building, and his love for writing, Arlo helped create a variety of educational exhibits for nature centers and history centers in Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2017, after premiering an exhibit that Arlo helped write, the Grand Army of the Republic Museum in Aurora, Illinois, won a state award for Small Institute of the Year. Arlo speaks, reads, and writes English and speaks conversational Spanish. Email:email@example.comPhone:312-784-3541 Carlos Cisneros-Vilchis Coordinating Attorney Carlos Cisneros-Vilchis is the coordinating attorney at the Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project-FLAP, where he oversees the organization’s litigation and community legal education efforts. Carlos earned his JD from Notre Dame Law School and is a licensed attorney in Illinois. He is licensed to practice law in the Northern District of Illinois, in the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and in the Central District of Illinois. Carlos is dedicated to providing access to justice and knowledge to migrant populations. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Carlos is an immigrant to the United States. He became interested in the plight of agricultural workers when working with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) in 2015. While working at ABLE, Carlos became steeped in immigration and employment advocacy. Carlos has learned to take cues from community advocates of the populations that he serves. He believes that by doing this a more holistic representation of the client and the community-at-large can be achieved. Carlos’s legal work has focused on providing access to justice, knowledge and legal representation to immigrants and agricultural workers. He has helped the immigrant population in Chicago in removal proceedings and with their contractual and consumer related questions. Since 2018, Carlos has focused on working with rural and suburban agricultural workers to ensure that their labor and employment rights are protected. This has resulted in large amount of money in settlements for agricultural workers. Furthermore, Carlos has given a range of Know Your Rights trainings, ranging from employment law to immigration law to the legalization of Cannabis. Carlos continues to focus on providing access to justice through his work with FLAP. He is a native Spanish speaker and is fluent in English. Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone:312-561-7975 Diana Vargas Intake Coordinator and Outreach Assistant Diana Vargas is a first-generation Latina from Little Village, Chicago. She is a graduate of Dominican University, where she received her Bachelor’s in Political Science and Psychology. She is bilingual; she can fluently speak, read, and write in both Spanish and English. Her determination to help the immigrant and underprivileged community began at a young age by witnessing the struggles, setbacks, and frustrations her predominantly Latino immigrant community experienced. She sought opportunities working with them in Chicago and surrounding suburbs after graduating college. She began organizing as a fellow for Casa Michoacán in the “Juntos Podemos” campaign, where she helped undervalued and underprivileged immigrant communities navigate the citizenship and DACA process through extensive outreach. During her time as an organizing fellow, she learned the importance of grassroots organizing as a tool to effect change at the local, regional, and national levels. Through her continued passion for helping underprivileged communities, she joined First Defense Legal Aid. At FDLA, she taught Know Your Rights workshops, trained peer educators about alternatives to policing through their Help Not Jail program, alongside lawyers, and connected community members to resources through their 24/7 hotline to help assuage unnecessary contact with police. Diana continues to help the underprivileged and immigrant community through her position as Intake Coordinator and Outreach Assistant at FLAP. As an Intake Coordinator and Outreach Assistant, she supports FLAP by doing community outreach and educating workers on their labor rights across Illinois. Email:email@example.comPhone:773-818-2403 Gabriela Pantoja-Cortés Outreach and Operations Assistant Gabriela Pantoja-Cortes is a lifelong Southsider and Chicagoan. She graduated in 2020 with her B.A. in Latin American Studies and Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. Her decision to major in Latin American Studies stemmed from her deep love of her culture, and her desire to learn more about Latin American scholars, artists, cultures, and people. Her passion to serve low income workers stems from her father’s tales of moving from Guanajuato, Mexico to Chicago’s Southeast Side to work at the steel mills, where immigrants from Mexico and various countries in Europe sought opportunity. With the mass closure of steel mills in the late 1990s, people like her father were left wondering what would come next and how they would provide for their families. Gabriela grew up in the aftermath of those closures, and has a deep appreciation for the resilience and continued tenacity of her neighbors. As an undergraduate student, Gabriela served as an Academic Peer Mentor and Student Programming Coordinator for the Deneb STARS – WashU’s inaugural program offering academic and socioemotional support for low income, first generation students. The time and work she dedicated to the program stemmed from her personal experience having to navigate a college landscape where few people could relate to being a low-income Latina, like herself. As an Outreach and Operations Assistant for FLAP, Gabriela continues serving those who are often overlooked by directing them to resources and helping them overcome barriers to access critical information and resources. She grew up speaking fluently in both Spanish and English at home and considers it an important part of her life; She can read, write, and speak in both languages. Sasha Reyes Community Outreach & Education Team Leader Sasha Reyes is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She is a first-generation Latina who was raised on the south side of Chicago by two hard working parents. Growing up, Sasha’s primary language was Spanish; she has vivid memories of learning English before entering kindergarten and as such, she is bilingual and fluent in both English and Spanish. Sasha has been committed to serving her community; as a young adult, she and a couple of classmates co-founded an after-school club at Whitney Young Magnet High School. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a gender in the workplace class Sasha took opened her eyes to farm workers’ working conditions. During college, Sasha was then inspired to partake in a successful national campaign involving Trader Joe’s who was rightfully asked to pay farm workers merely one more penny per bucket of tomatoes that were harvested. After graduating, Ms. Reyes joined First Defense Legal Aid. She worked as a bilingual Know Your Rights educator delivering workshops in English and Spanish under the supervision of attorneys. Since Sasha could remember, when asked what profession she wanted to be a part of, She always responded with “I want to help people”. This mission she always carried with her in her heart wherever she went. Sasha is happily committed to continue advocating for her community in all capacities and is delighted that she can continue her Know Your Rights work at FLAP! As an outreach assistant, she supports FLAP’s mission distributing important information to those that do not know their rights at work. Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone:224-522-3178 Board Officers Jose Rivero Chairman Jose Rivero Chairman Attorney at Law - Cullen, Haskins, Nicholson & Menchetti Jack King Vice Chairman Jack King Vice Chairman Retired Director of Student Professional Development - College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Northern Illinois University Vincent H. Beckman IV Treasurer Vincent H. Beckman IV Treasurer Former Chicago Public School Teacher-Managing, Partner at Tanta Chicago, Managing Partner at Arbella, Partner Nicelce Company. Shahryar Afshar Secretary Shahryar Afshar Secretary Equity Options Trader Formerly a member and proprietary trader at Lantana trading and Riverbank Capital Management Board of Directors Royal F. Berg Royal F. Berg Attorney at Law Maria Dominguez Maria Dominguez Legal Assistant Suzanne Juday Suzanne Juday Retired Educator Ron Levitsky Ron Levitsky Retired Educator Baldemar Lopez Baldemar Lopez Attorney at Law Legal Advisory Board Julie Herrera Julie Herrera Attorney at Law - Law Office of Julie Herrera Thomas H. Geoghegan Thomas H. Geoghegan Attorney at Law - Despres Schwartz and Geoghegan Ltd. Founders Margo De Ley Margo De Ley Founder and Honorary Board Member Olgha S. Sandman Olgha S. Sandman Founder Patricia Mendoza Patricia Mendoza Founder Roberto Ramirez Roberto Ramirez Founder Vincent H. Beckman III Vincent H. Beckman III Founder, Honorary Board Member, and Former Executive Director Volunteers David Arfa Cartographer David Arfa Cartographer David Arfa has a BA in Geography and a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Washington. He has been a volunteer since 2011. Memo Ramirez Software Engineer Memo Ramirez Software Engineer Memo has a BS from the University of Chicago and has been a volunteer since 2012.