Message from Yesenia Sanchez, founding director / Mensaje de Yesenia Sanchez
With excitement, I share this fall I embark in a new journey. I will be transitioning from P.A.S.O. to begin the LAS graduate program in International Migration at the University of California in San Diego to continue my work for immigrant justice through a transnational focus.
It has been an honor to lead P.A.S.O. these past six years and work with a courageous, talented and committed team of staff, leaders, volunteers and board. I have been transformed and grounded by the people I’ve walked with and the impact of our collective work and strategic vision.
Six years ago, we founded P.A.S.O.- West Suburban Action Project with a vision for a community-led organization to develop leaders and empower immigrant and Latino communities in the West Cook Suburbs through community organizing, grassroots leadership development, and civic engagement.
These past years, we have seen the fruit of this labor. P.A.S.O. has been at the forefront of the immigrant rights efforts in Illinois, bringing people and institutions together to win critical legislation including the passage of the TVDL driver licenses, the IL Dream Act for undocumented students, supporting the passage of the Cook County ICE detainer ordinance and working with the Quinn administration to block the expansion of Secure Communities. At the national level, we’ve worked for immigration reform, the DREAM Act, administrative relief and supporting a stop to deportations.
Locally, we’ve focused on the effective integration of the immigrant community- through key partnerships and collaborations we implemented programs that have assisted over 2,500 residents become citizens since 2009, began citizenship classes to prepare new eligible residents, registered 3,674 new Latino voters, and in 2011 led Census outreach targeting Latinos that brought thousands of new dollars to the local communities we serve.
P.A.S.O.- with the passion and talent of our leaders, staff and board- has impacted the lives of thousands of people, moved immigrant justice forward in Illinois, and created a shift in how immigrants and Latinos are perceived in the West Cook suburbs.
In the beginning of this year, we began working with P.A.S.O.’s board and Morten Group cosulting in a succession plan. I am proud and honored to share Eduardo “Eddie” Muñoz will serve as interim director, leading the organization through the transition and succession. Eduardo is one of P.A.S.O.’s founding leaders and until recently served as the Board secretary. He helped organize our massive mobilization to Washington DC in 2010 and co-led the campaign for the DREAM Act.
Eduardo’s passion, commitment and experience along with the strong foundation of the staff, board and leaders will ensure P.A.S.O.’s continued impact, growth, and vision through the ed succession to new executive director.