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Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month
Mike Theodore
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Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant has featured local leaders as part of the ongoing Will County Leadership Series. During the last week of National Hispanic Heritage Month, community leaders have shared 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. As this important month comes to a close, the final leaders to be spotlighted are Executive Director/Community Organizer Amy Sanchez and Joliet Township Clerk Alicia Morales.

Executive Director/Community Organizer Amy Sanchez


1. As a local leader, why was it important for you to be involved in your community?

I believe it takes a village to raise a child. Our youth are essential to our positive growth and development as a community. I feel it is important that each one reaches one, so I start with me.  

2. To future leaders, what advice would you give to help them become successful?

Always remain focused on the mission. The community we are privileged to serve counts on all of us being genuine to the cause.  

Joliet Township Clerk Alicia Morales

1. As a local leader, why was it important for you to be involved in your community?

It was important for me to be involved in my community because I felt completely invisible at every government office, college and university I attended or visited. I never saw anyone who looked like me employed in any position of leadership or authority in Will County including teachers, counselors, deans, directors, vice presidents, presidents, etc. It became more important for me to get involved on a civic level when the City of Joliet thought it was a good idea to attempt to bring a "For Profit Immigrant Detention Center", that was completely unacceptable. Immigrants have so much more to offer to our communities. Immigrants are the backbone to our country.

2. To future leaders, what advice would you give to help them become successful?

I recommend future leaders get involved in their local schools or churches.  Get to know the students and families.  Ask them what resources they need to have a better quality of life.  Be a volunteer at a school supply give away or food pantry so you can see first hand the faces of the underserved community.  Be present and be consistent in your community, don't just show up when you need something, be available and be inspirational!

About Amy Sanchez

Born and raised in Joliet’s Eastside community, Ms. Sanchez began advocating for the community she lived in after surviving a gunshot wound to the head at 9 years old, uplifting violence prevention through her powerful experience of survival. She graduated Joliet Central class of ‘97 and worked at the Joliet Police Department while studying criminal justice at Joliet Junior College. Leaving school to become a full time mother, she raised 4 sons while continuing to work on her career.In 2010, Ms. Sanchez began volunteering and organizing in the Joliet Area, launching the Collins St Neighborhood Council in October of that year. Between 2011-2014  she served as a board member at Unity Community Development Corporation, Joliet Ravens Youth Football, Child Care Resource and Referral, and taught Sunday School at her church. In 2014 Amy supported several community members to form Joliet Unity Movement; a grassroots volunteer base nonprofit with a stop the violence message to youth and families in the greater Joliet area. Ms. Sanchez serves as Development Specialist on a volunteer basis. Currently, she works at Warehouse Workers for Justice, serving as Lead Legal Organizer for just over a year and was recently promoted as the Program Director. Ms. Sanchez was also appointed to the Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Firearm Violence Prevention Local Advisory Council for the Joliet Region.    

About Alicia Morales 

Ms. Alicia Morales is a lifelong resident of Joliet and Will County. She is a first generation student and the first to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in her family. In 2017, she was the first latina elected to the Joliet Jr. College BOard and in 202, she was the first latina elected as the Joliet Township Clerk. 

While juggling family responsibilities and small children, she attended Joliet Jr. College and earned an Associates degree in Marketing Management and Human Resources with honors. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from USF and later, as a single mom, she also completed her MBA and she earned a K-12 teaching certificate with a Language Endorsement in Spanish. Alicia has been a bilingual substitute teacher for children K-8. Alicia Morales continues to give back to the community.  During the brink of the 2020 Covid pandemic, Alicia became an entrepreneur and she opened her own insurance agency in Joliet. Alicia has volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce, the Spanish Community Center, and various school districts and churches.