Illinois Unidos – a consortium of over 150 Latino elected and appointed officials, together with health professionals, and representatives of community-based organizations. The initiative aims to present one united voice in stopping the growth of COVID-19 in our communities while addressing related public health issues and the devastating economic impact of COVID-19.


Dr. Aida Giachello – Northwestern University, Dept of Preventive Medicine

Dr. Patricia Canessa, MA,MBA, PhD- Illinois Public Health Association

Dr. Marina Del Rios – University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Emergency Medicine 

Dr. Pamela Vergara-Rodriguez – Internal Medicine, Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine 

Dr. Nicole Kazee – Erie Family Health

Dr. Jennifer Vargas – Alivio Medical Center

Dr. Lisa Aponte-Soto – Tanoma Consulting

Sylvia Puente – Latino Policy Forum

Esther Sciamarella, M.S. – Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition

Juan Calderon – Chicago Board of Health

Eddy Borrayo – Rincon Family Services

Esther Corpuz – Alivio Medical Center

Miguel Blancarte, Jr. – Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE)

Reyna Torres Mendivil – Cónsul General of México 

Bill Munoz Miranda – Consul General de Guatemala

The Puerto Rican Agenda

Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García

State Senator Cristina Castro 

State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas

State Senator Celina Villanueva

State Senator Omar Aquino

State Representative Fred Crespo

State Representative Eva-Dina Delgado

State Representative Edgar Gonzalez, Jr.

State Representative Will Guzzardi

State Representative Lisa Hernandez

State Representative Barbara Hernandez

State Representative Theresa Mah

State Representative Aaron Ortiz

State Representative Delia Ramirez

State Representative Karina Villa

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County –  Iris Martinez

Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya

Hon. Jesse G. Reyes, President of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation

Hanover Park Municipal Clerk Eira Corral Sepulveda 

Chicago Alderman George Cardenas

Chicago Alderman Felix Cardona

Chicago Alderman Daniel LaSpata

Chicago Alderman Roberto Maldonado

Chicago Alderman Michael Rodriguez

Chicago Alderman Rossanna Rodriguez

Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa 

Chicago Alderman Susan Sadowski-Garza

Chicago Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez

Chicago Alderman Andre Vasquez

Chicago Alderman Gilbert Villegas

Elgin Alderman Baldemar Lopez

Jose A. Rivera Jr., Associate Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk of Cook County

Laura Leon, Trinidad Lutheran Church

Xavier Nogueras – BOCA Media Group 

Cesar Rolon – Imagen Marketing 

Illinois Unidos is now a fully funded and functioning institution that is housed at the Latino Policy Forum. Under the guidance of the coalition, Illinois Unidos is led by Alejandra L. Ibañez, our inaugural Executive Director. Read more about our committed staff below.

Alejandra L. Ibañez - Executive Director

Alejandra L. Ibañez is a passionate bridge-builder, change-maker, community organizer and nonprofit leader. She has spent her entire career creating and facilitating relationships, programs, initiatives, and institutional partnerships that elevate the voice, power, and agency of historically marginalized communities of color, including her Latinx community.

Alejandra started her career as a community organizer at Erie Neighborhood House working with predominately immigrant, Latina mothers building community power and democracy at the grassroots level in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.  In 1996, Alejandra joined Sonia Silva’s successful campaign as the state’s first Latina to the Illinois’ House of Representatives and served as her Chief of Staff until the end of her term in 2000.  She is most proud of their work to increase free and reduced school breakfast and lunch for Illinois children as well as creating the Illinois Taskforce on Day Laborers in 1998 that helped lay the groundwork for the state’s first Day and Temporary Labor Services Act in 1999.

After spending a few years in the public sector, Alejandra returned to her community roots and became Executive Director of Pilsen Alliance, a direct-action community organization. Alejandra was able to intertwine her commitment to community and systems change at the grassroots level and led innovative and culturally relevant leadership programs and community organizing campaigns that included the creation of the first community housing and zoning board as well as a community-school based partnership that included, multi-generational programming and a parent community organizing campaign.

Alejandra has spent the last ten years in the philanthropic sector bringing her community organizing, nonprofit leadership and public sector experience to her work.  She served as co-chair of the Chicagoland Workforce Funders Alliance and the National Funders Group Funders for a Just Economy.

Alejandra is honored to serve as Executive Director of Illinois Unidos; a statewide coalition of Latino health professionals, representatives of community-based organization, and elected officials committed to the equitable Covid-19 response and recovery for the state’s Latinx population.

Francisco Javier Arellano - Program Manager

Francisco Javier Arellano is a driven and versatile young leader dedicated to community work and collaboration. As the inaugural staff member of Illinois Unidos, Javier currently serves as Program Manager for the Latinx, Covid-19 coalition, which currently operates as a program of the Latino Policy Forum.

Javier’s background ranges from advocacy, public health, and counseling, all in service of his commitment to the most marginalized communities.

Javier has spent over five years as a Community Health Worker, specifically within HIV/STD Prevention in the LGBTQ+ community and other at-risk populations. Providing testing and counseling to well over 1,000 clients, Javier has a unique, human-centered approach in promoting risk reduction strategies.

Javier’s experience in outreach, community organizing, and coalition-building initially began as a fellow at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) where he worked on non-partisan Get-Out-The-Vote efforts in immigrant communities.

A Chicagoland native, Javier graduated with honors from DePaul University where he received his BA in Intercultural Communications, concentrating on Latino Media. He has extensive experience utilizing Community Psychology frameworks throughout his educational and professional career and is certified in Psychological First Aid and Conflict Management and Resolution.

Javier hopes to use his intercultural background experience to inform his own future practice and higher education plans.

(Javier has been published on the online news site, Radical Colors, where he’s written blog articles on the effects of Gentrification on marginalized communities in Chicago and has served as co-producer of the podcast, Strong Enough, which focusses on the mental health of young people of color. He was also featured on an episode of “Pero Like,” a BuzzFeed Media Channel focused on Latinos.)

Keyla Ferretiz - Digital Director

Keyla Ferretiz is a Latina graphic design and marketing professional based in Greensboro, North Carolina. She specializes in social media marketing strategies and design for small businesses and entrepreneurs. She has worked with clients who work in a variety of fields including Non-profits, Lawyers, and Podcasts. She graduated in 2019 with a B.A. in Media and Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her free time, Keyla enjoys painting and spending time with her dog.