Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month
In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant is spotlighting local leaders as part of the ongoing Will County Leadership Series. During the last week of National Hispanic Heritage Month, community leaders will be highlighted and sharing their thoughts on the importance of recognizing hispanic heritage
County Executive Bertino-Tarrant would like to thank these leaders who have stepped forward to share their thoughts. The next leader to be featured is State Representative Dagmara “Dee” Avelar.
1. As a local leader, why was it important for you to be involved in your community?
Will county has been my home since the early 2000’s, this is the community that has seen me grow and that allowed the opportunity to my family to be able to own a home. One of my family’s key values is to never forget where you come from and when someone is in need of help to do your best to extend a helping hand. That is what led me into the nonprofit sector and which ultimately became a catalyst for me to run for office. The community that I proudly serve is a community that cares about each other, a community that values diversity and sees this area as a place to live and build a family.
2. To future leaders, what advice would you give to help them become successful?
The best advice that I was given and that I will pass on to future leaders is do not build movements around a single person, build the bench! In community organizing one of the key things you learn is to empower people to make their own decisions, that the best solutions come from those directly impacted by the problems you seek to resolve. As a future leader it is imperative to think about how do you build a sustainable foundation that creates opportunities for those who would have otherwise not been engaged in the process, share your wisdom!
About Rep. Avelar
State Representative Dagmara “Dee” Avelar is a community organizer and non-profit management professional who was elected to the Illinois General Assembly to represent the 85th District in 2020. Prior to her new role, Representative “Dee” worked as the Director of Programs at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights leading the work of the largest naturalization and language access efforts in the state of Illinois: the New Americans Initiative and Immigrant Family Resource Program. She was born in Ecuador lived in the United States for more than 13 years as an undocumented American and credits youth leadership development and civic engagement as her catalyst to fight for social, racial, and economic justice.
She currently serves as the Co-chair of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation, Secretary of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and serves on the Appropriations-Public Safety, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT, Health Care Availability & Access, Judiciary - Civil, State Government Administration and Transportation: Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committees.