Here to serve the community
Senator Aquino was born and raised in the Northwest Side of Chicago and is a proud Latino! His early memories of his parents as public workers inspired him to dedicate his career to public service. From his first role as a bilingual case manager to eventually becoming a legislative assistant in the House of Representatives to becoming a State Senator himself, Senator Aqunio has continued to grow his passion for serving his community.
Representative Norma Hernandez was appointed as co-chair of the ILLCF in 2023 after becoming the first Latina ever to represent the 77th Illinois House district, which includes majority Latino suburbs such as Stone Park, Franklin Park, Bensenville, and her hometown of Melrose Park (among other suburbs). Before joining the Foundation’s board, Hernandez worked in the field of urban planning and public policy, helping lead data analysis and reports that looked deeply at trends and issues affecting Latino communities in Illinois. She brings a wealth of policy knowledge, especially as ILLCF prepares to launch much of its public policy work in Raices.
the ILLCF team
Oswaldo Alvarez is the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation’s Executive Director and oversees all programs, operations, and organizational development. Oswaldo has nearly 20 years of experience, working across the sectors of nonprofit, government, and philanthropy – all the sectors designed to work with and for community. Before joining the ILLCF, Oswaldo was appointed by Governor Pritzker as the inaugural Census Director for the State of Illinois, helping the State achieve its highest self-response rate ever, ranking #1 among states with over 9 million people. A Chicago native and a fluent Spanish speaker, he earned his Master's in Social Policy from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor in Economics and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Elizabeth Gutierrez, who is from the south suburbs of Chicago, graduated with a Masters in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Elizabeth's studies and research focused on community nutrition with a focus on public health and nutrition policy. Through her studies, dietetic internship, and volunteer-based extracurriculars, she found a passion for promoting health equity through establishing nutrition security within the various communities she interacted with. Liz is excited to continue to build her passion for policy and non-profit work while uplifting the Latino community within Illinois.
Kimberly is the Foundation’s Inaugural Policy Manager and will be overseeing the foundation’s policy matters and framework, Raíces. Prior to joining ILLCF, Kimberly worked on environmental policy. Kimberly brings a wealth of knowledge on community outreach and engagement and an unwavering passion for advocating for equitable policies to help communities of color.
Senator Omar Aquino
Marta Cerda, JD