GLHW Council Member
Telpochcali Community Education Program
Maria is a long-time community advocate with deep roots in the southwest side of Chicago. She is the Executive Director of Telpochcalli Community Education Project (TCEP), an organization in Little Village that mobilizes youth and adults for social justice work by building individual capacity, collective power, and mutual responsibility through culturally relevant and community-directed education, leadership development, and organizing.
She is passionate about advocating for immigrant rights in this country and is committed to be an agent of change in society. As a Mexican woman rooted in strong moral values, she advocates for equal rights for every human being especially women in society. As a woman she feels very strongly about being respected and acknowledge as a person with its’ own opinions, needs, views, and ways of doing things. Culture is very important to her and she tries to always go back to her roots and think about her ancestors who have inspired her to keep doing what is right and contributing to a better and just world.
She has greatly contributed to the community, not only spearheading projects and initiatives, but nurturing comprehensive and collective leadership development for adults and youth in Little Village. Throughout the years, Maria has worked with hundreds of parents and community residents, creating thoughtful processes for inclusion in decision making and opportunities for growth and development of full potential.
TCEP has been the perfect space for the acknowledgement and respect people need for their humanity to flourish. Community members express their dreams, needs, and ideas and have the opportunity and support to take action impacting change through community projects. TCEP has been a support system and safe space for many immigrants coming to this country looking to better their lives. Coming to this country has its challenges. At TCEP, individuals face and address many of those challenges through the creation of safe, healthy, and cultural spaces which support the process of transforming the self, family, and community. As people become aware, valued, and heard, they begin to discover the power they have inside of them. When this happens, people initiate collective community projects to address their needs and passion for change and justice. People with power fight for justice, here, there, and everywhere.