Board of Directors

President, Rev. John Thomas

is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. From 1999 to 2009 he served as General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.  He has also been a pastor of congregations in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, served as the denomination’s national ecumenical officer, and was a member of the faculty of Chicago Theological Seminary. Rev. Thomas is retired and lives with his wife, Lydia Veliko, in Hyde Park.  He is a member of Epiphany United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Vice President, Rev. Marshall Hatch

has been the pastor of the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, located in the heart of Chicago's West Garfield community, since 1993. Marshall Hatchis a native of the West side. In 1998 he was appointed a Merrill Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School, in Cambridge, MA. In August 2000, Marshall Hatch was appointed an Adjunct Professor on the faculty of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He currently serves as the co-chairman of the board of the Leaders Network, a collaborative of faith and community leaders working together to organize, strategize and mobilize to improve the quality of the life for the West side communities and Greater Chicago. He is a board member of Chicago State University.  He has been a key ally in supporting UCAN workers who are organizing with AFSCME Council 31 and also the Fight For Fifteen movement.

Treasurer, The Very Reverend Joy Rogers

is a native of Pennsylvania and life-long Episcopalian. She earned a Master of Divinity degree in Parish Ministry and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Homiletics from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a member of the Peace and Justice Commission of the Diocese of Chicago. She is the former rector of St. Thomas Parish in Battle Creek, MI and most recently served as the chief pastor of St. James Cathedral in Chicago. Under Joy’s leadership, the Fight for Fifteen formally constituted itself in the Cathedral with 200 members present. Rev. Joy has traveled to Springfield and emceed press conferences in support of the Illinois Domestic Worker Bill of Rights as well as delegations to return striking workers back to work with the Fight For 15 Campaign.

Secretary, Arnoldo Fabela

is the Director of Field Organizing at the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), a state-wide union with 103,000 members. He was instrumental in Arise incubating the union at Old Town School of Folk Music, consisting of 250 teaching artists who are now members of IFT Local 909 members.  He has been an organizer in labor, racial, and social justice movements for two decades, working previously with SEIU’s Justice for Janitors and UFCW’s WalMart campaigns.  Arnoldo is a proud family member with his wife Maria, and children Sofia, Xavier, and Sebastian.

Imam Tariq I. El-Amin

is the Senior Imam of the Board of Masjid Al-Taqwa, a member of Iron Workers Local 1, and is completing a Masters Of Divinity, with a focus on Islamic Chaplaincy from Bayan Islamic Graduate School/Chicago Theological Seminary in May of 2022. El-Amin cofounded Bridging The Gap Inc. and serves as a board member of The Abolotion Institute, an international anti-slavery nonprofit. He has served as on-air host/producer of Radio Islam, Director of Civic Engagement & Interfaith Services at the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and a past appointee to the Illinois Muslim Advisory Council.

Isabel Escobar

was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and arrived to the U.S. in 1989. She came to Arise in 2011 for wage theft while working as a domestic worker. She was part of the Arise fight for the Bill of Rights for Domestic Workers in Illinois, for that, she was recognized in 2016 by the President Barack Obama’s administration and was invited to the White House. Isabel is a returning Arise board member.

Br. Michael Gosch

is a member of the Clerics of St. Viator, commonly known as Viatorians.  He has worked as a high school teacher and social worker in Illinois and Nevada.  He currently is the co-director of Viator House of Hospitality, a residence for immigrant males who have aged out of youth detention. The youth came to the U.S. as unaccompanied immigrant children in search of asylum.

Rev. Dominic Grassi 

was born in Chicago and ordained a Catholic Priest in 1973. Before retiring he served as pastor at St. Josaphat Parish in Lincoln Park and St. Gertrude Parish in Edgewater.  He is a past chair of the Association of Chicago Priests, administrator of Quigley Seminary South, served as co-chair of O.N.E, was named the National Catholic Education Association "Pastor of the Year" and as one of "Fifty People Who Make Chicago a Better Place." by the Chicago Sun- Times. He is an author of seven books including a cookbook and a murder mystery set in Chicago.

Angelina Landaverde

was born in Cuscatlán, El Salvador and arrived to the U.S. 24 years ago. When her company suddenly shut down in violation of the WARN Act in 2014, Angelina joined Arise. Angelina has been part of Arise leadership development courses and participated in events and actions, as she encourages other members to speak up and take action. Her 3 children are 7, 9, and 17 years old.

Hector Lopez 

was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States 26 years ago. He took English classes here and was able to get his GED. He has worked for several companies, including meat packing, on production lines and as a welder. Currently, he works loading and unloading trucks, although he been at his current job for 19 years and also perform several other tasks. He was the lead worker on a campaign with Arise to organize his workplace. Seven weeks after bringing co-workers to an Arise workshop, they had an election for the production workers and won union representation. A week later the drivers at the same company won their union. The process prompted his interest to get more involved with Arise and his union to help workers to have more dignified treatment, better wages, and improved lives.

Rocío Martinez

has been a member of Arise Chicago for several years and has led two campaigns. She participated with Arise in a successful lawsuit against her former employer, Valid USA, after the factory shut down with no warning. Years later, Rocio led a campaign with her co-workers at the Talerico Bakery to improve health and safety conditions and wages on the job.

María Medina

was born in Guanajuato, México, arriving in the U.S. 10 years ago. Maria sought Arise due to workplace sexual harassment. As a domestic worker, Maria completed her Arise training as a Domestic Worker Contract Specialist and has participated in several leadership courses at Arise. Maria has two daughters, ages 6 and 9. 

Małgorzata Pinska

migrated from Poland to USA in early 2000. As Domestic Worker specializing in House Cleaning, she came to Arise Chicago in 2013 to be a part of training – Health and Safety for Domestic Workers. Since then she joined the membership of Arise Chicago and actively participated in Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign. In 2015 she become a leader in Domestic Worker group. She organizes meetings and does outreach to Polish community to pass information about Arise Chicago and as well now she trains Domestic Workers in Green Cleaning and Workers Rights.

Alfredo Sanchez

first came to Arise Chicago in 2014 facing a workplace problem. After learning his rights and resolving his own workplace campaign, Alfredo was eager to teach and support other workers. He regularly refers new workers to Arise to become members and make changes at their workplaces. Alfredo is also a community leader, having served on his children's CPS Local School Council.

Don Villar

was born into the labor movement and spirit of social justice after his parents and three siblings immigrated to the U.S.  In 1991, Don became a member of NABET-CWA Local 41 – a union representing broadcast news and TV production workers in Chicago. During his nearly 25-year broadcast journalism career at WLS-TV (ABC) Chicago, Don won an Emmy Award for breaking news coverage. He later earned his Juris Doctorate at Loyola Law School. In 2010, Don was elected Vice President of NABET-CWA Local 41 and then President in 2015. In this role, he focused on organizing, movement building and collective bargaining. Don is now the Secretary-Treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor and is also on the Campaign Cabinet of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. 

Christel Williams-Hayes

has been a Chicago Teachers Union member for 28 years, a School Clerk for 17 years, and CTU organizer. She now holds the elected officer position of Chicago Teachers Union as Secretary and is on the Executive Board of IL Federation of Teachers as a Vice President. She represents Paraprofessionals on the American Federation of Teachers PSRP Program and Policy Council.  She is a Licensed Minister and a member of Bright Star COGIC on the south side, where she sings in the choir. Christel is the mother of three beautiful girls and a grandmother.

Joe Willis

has been a Union carpenter for 17 years and an organizer for 2 years. Joe grew up on the south side of Chicago and, before becoming a carpenter, was involved with community groups advocating for access for minorities in the inner city. Joe has spoken to at-risk youth about the benefits and opportunities in the construction field at high schools, community centers and local congregations.

Get Updates