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 86 demand letters, recovering almost 5.0 million dollars in back wages and damages for very low-income Latinx immigrant workers. Since April 1st to December 31st, there have been more than 28,900 phone calls for FLAP with about 28,000 calls related to COVID-19 for that period of time. FLAP has secured cash donations to 2,730 very low-income Latinx individuals making an impact on roughly 16,380 family members for a total of $1,459,084 cash distribution. 131,216 COVID-19 educational materials with information and resources have been delivered. 3,396 Know your Rights presentations have been done. 45,158 Personnel Protective Equipment has been distributed. Of those 26,780 went directly to Illinois’ Farmworkers and 4,052 to immigrant children. 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 Arely A. Anaya Bilingual Outreach and Intake Assistant Arely A. Anaya is a proud graduate of Northeastern Illinois University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Global Studies. Arely is fluent in both English and Spanish and a first-generation Latina from the Southeast Side neighborhood in Chicago. She developed her passion for helping her Latinx community after growing up seeing her single mother struggle financially and under unfair working conditions while employed in the food, homecare, landscape, and construction industries. Arely’s mother often shared stories with her and her siblings of being an undocumented farm worker in the 1980’s in Salinas, California and the injustices that workers still face. Those stories and the struggles she saw her mom in, inspired her to advocate and empower immigrant and low-wage workers. For the past few years, Arely has volunteered with social justice efforts and in political campaigns to help uplift many issues that our communities face in the workplace and throughout our society. Her dedication derives from her hope to see all immigrant workers be treated with dignity and respect. She is determined to help and empower our immigrant community and fight for equality standing firm with that commitment! As one of FLAP’s Bilingual Outreach and Intake Assistants, her responsibilities include community outreach efforts, labor rights education, and providing resources to low-income latinx immigrant, migrant, and seasonal workers in Illinois. Arely speaks, reads, and writes English and Spanish. Email:email@example.comPhone:630-877-8381 Arlo Chapple Development & Communications Coordinator Arlo Chapple is the Development and Communications Coordinator 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:firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone:312-784-3541 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 Jesus Rico Bilingual Operations Manager Jesus Rico is a first-generation Latino that grew up in Chicago in the Little Village neighborhood. He graduated from Webster University with an MBA in Management and Marketing. His work experience includes positions in Marketing, Sales, Customer Service & Project Management. Additionally, he is a licensed realtor with a passion to help community members achieve their goal of having a piece of the American dream; to own their own home. His desired for helping others includes volunteering with the local Habitat for Humanity office fixing/repairing homes that were eventually donated to low-income residents living in McHenry County. Additionally, he had the opportunity to volunteer to coach youth soccer teams, whose members consisted mostly of low-income Latinx kids. The goal was to keep the kids active while having fun socializing with their friends and staying focused in School and off the streets. As a son and brother of proud Landscapers, he can relate to FLAP clients’ struggles they often encounter in the field. His late father and brothers worked for many years in Landscaping, earning an honest living. They worked long hours under tough conditions, but never backed down to the daily challenge. Unfortunately, Jesus was not able to assist his family members with problems they might had encountered with their employers back in those days. However, at FLAP, he is now making a difference in the life of the low-income Latinx Community across Illinois. It all starts by educating workers on their labor rights! Jesus lives in McHenry County, is bilingual; fluent in oral, read and written English and Spanish. He is in charge of managing the operations of the organization. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Yoselin Escalona Bilingual Administrative Assistant and Community Navigator Yoselin Escalona is a first generation Latinx that grew up in Lisle, IL and presently lives in Aurora, IL. Yoselin graduated from the First Institute Training and Management where she obtained her certificate for Medical Office Assistant. Her work history ranges from working in the food industry, and customer service with management experience, to assisting the Latinx community on trying to achieve the dream of becoming homeowners. She developed her passion for helping the low income Latinx community after growing up seeing family and loved ones struggle on a daily basis due to unfair treatment by their employers and witnessed language barriers that prevented them from being informed on their rights as workers. Yoselin was faced with these hardships herself when she was of age to work. After everything she experienced and seen others go through, she felt she needed to help support and help empower the immigrants and low income Latinx community. As FLAP’s Bilingual Administrative Assistant and Community Navigator, her responsibilities include daily review of the FLAP hotline and emails, assigning potential cases to the appropriate staff for follow up, doing translations and interpretations and delivering Know your Rights presentations both virtually and in person. Yoselin is fluent in both English and Spanish. Email:email@example.comPhone:815-909-0362 Yudaisy Pascual Bilingual Intake and Outreach Assistant Yudaisy Pascual is a first Latina immigrant’s generation who understands the vulnerability and interpersonal issues that immigrants face in a new country. Her passion for helping people has increased since she started working as a case manager in a legal office in Chicago, where she connected low-wage Latinx with immigration, criminal defense, traffic and family’s attorneys. She is an alumni of Upwardly Global-Chicago and currently volunteers with this non-profit organization assisting immigrant professionals to rebuild their careers in the United States. She also holds a Business Negotiation Certificate from Harvard University. Yudaisy moved to the United States as the ongoing socioeconomic crisis was deepening in Venezuela, her homeland, forcing her to flee the country due the instability to pursue advances on her professional path. She earned her law degree at Santa Maria University in Caracas, Venezuela and a Master’s Science Degree in Corporate Law from the Metropolitana University in Caracas, before joining the National Oil Company of Venezuela (PDVSA), where she worked for ten years. It was there where she acquired a broader understanding of the oil industry and its social impact in the economic development of Venezuela. She worked closely with the Board of Directors and the company subsidiary offices in Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Colombia, helping to implement guidelines with local lawyers in each country. As a Bilingual Intake and Outreach Assistant, Yudaisy supports FLAP by doing community outreach and education across Illinois. She speaks, reads, and writes English and Spanish. Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone:312-561-7975 Consultants Juan Esteban Zamarripa Community Navigator Juan Esteban Zamarripa was born and grew up in Mexico. Like many of his peers, he was forced to emigrate to the United States due to lack of opportunities, leaving his home country 20 years ago in search of a better life in Chicago. At the age of seven, Juan Esteban had to begin working as a street vendor and butcher to help support his large Latinx family. While he worked, he maintained his own studies, as well – from primary to secondary school, up until he became a professional in public accounting from the Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila. To support himself and his family, Juan Esteban has worked at restaurants, in the cleaning industry, food, arts, and providing administrative services. In his work with FLAP as Community Navigator, Juan Esteban is proud to be drawing upon his previous job experiences that many in his community have had. He is glad to be spreading the word about FLAP’s mission to improve working conditions for low-income workers and doing community outreach and education. He is a native Spanish speaker, speaks conversational English and lives in West Lawn in Chicago. 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 Lilian Gonzalez Lilian Gonzalez Attorney at Law 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.