Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director
Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director of Arise Chicago since 2007, has been partnering with workers and faith leaders to bring a fuller measure of God’s justice to the workplace since 1993. In addition to being a first-generation college graduate, Hawking was on the forefront of advocating for the inclusion of women and the LGBT community in ordained ministry. A graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, she is the Harry F. Ward Pastor for Social Justice at Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church in Oak Park. Hawking served as a visiting lecturer on labor and social movements at the University of Illinois and Indiana University. She co-authored “Staley: The Fight for the New American Labor Movement”, (University of Illinois Press, 2009) which won three “Book of the Year” awards. Rev. Hawking is grateful to the amazing Arise staff, two-thirds of whom have been with Arise for 10 years or more, board, worker-members, congregational members, and supporters for building Arise into an international model for pursuing worker justice.
Laura Garza, Worker Center Director
Laura Garza (she/her/ella) was born in Monterrey, Mexico and, at age 10, moved to Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. For the past 23 years, she worked for Service Employees International Union Local 1 and fought for economic justice while centering racial, immigrant, and environmental justice in all her work. Ensuring that women, especially women of color, are represented in the workplace and feel safe from any forms of harassment has been essential to her work over the years. She was formerly a board member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Arise Chicago. Laura is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Laura is fluent in Spanish and English.
Adam Kader, Public Policy Director
Adam Kader (he/him/él) served as Arise Chicago's Worker Center Director for 14 years before becoming Public Policy Director in 2021. He is proud of his Palestinian roots and his union member parents who instilled an enduring commitment to social and economic justice that he has carried throughout his work. Before joining Arise Chicago he worked as an adult English language learner instructor for a variety of immigrant community organizations in Chicago and taught a Labor and Social Movements course at the University of Illinois. Adam received a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Public Policy with a concentration in Community Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Spanish, with a minor in Gender Studies, from Lawrence University. Besides raising his daughter with his wife, Adam enjoys old-fashioned hobbies including reading books, listening to vinyl records, and taking urban hikes. Adam is fluent in English and Spanish.
Margarita Valenzuela Klein, Director of Member Organizing
Margarita Klein is the daughter of political refugees from Chile and has been dedicated to workers’ rights and social justice for over two decades. Margarita brings a culmination of 20 years experience in the workers rights and labor movement to Arise Chicago. She has experience training teams of workers to create workplace demands, win union representation, and make concrete workplace improvements. Having won awards for Labor Woman of the Year for the Chicago Federation of Labor, 100 of Chicago’s most influential women, as well as featured and profiled with the Chicago Tribune, Margarita brings her experience and passion for workers’ rights and organizing to Arise. Margarita is bilingual in Spanish and English. Margarita is fluent in Spanish and English.
Shelly Ruzicka, Communications & Development Director
Shelly Ruzicka (she/her/ella) has worked at Arise Chicago since 2006. As Communications & Development Director, she leads narrative strategy, strategic press work, finances, and supports fundraising and member leadership development. Shelly is passionate about supporting workers to share their stories as a powerful means to win campaigns. She has secured 100-200+ local, national, and international stories annually, including significant coverage of immigrant women in the #MeToo movement, and the workplace COVID crisis. She is a 2021 alumna of the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy; 2015 alumna of the ReFrame strategic communications mentorship; and earned bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Intercultural Studies at Elmhurst College during which time she also studied at Oxford University, and Universidad Espíritu Santo in Ecuador. Her family’s roots in working class Polish and Czech immigrant communities and being the daughter of a public school teacher inspire her focus on the workplace as a critical point of social change. Shelly is fluent in English and Spanish and enjoys film festivals and cooking elaborate dinners.
Axel Chiappori Alarcón, Development Associate
Axel Alarcón (they/he/elle/él), the Arise Development Associate since 2021, is a Peruvian American whose parents immigrated from Lima, Peru. Axel is a nonbinary transmasculine person, who uses they/he in English or elle/él pronouns in Spanish. They received their Masters’ degree in Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Bachelor’s in Social Work at the University of South Florida and. They have direct practice and development experience working with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, along with homeless youth and youth who aged out of foster care. They are trained in crisis intervention, violence prevention, and trauma-informed care. Involved in development since 2019, they use their fundraising skills in a way that aligns with their values as a social worker. Axel is passionate about utilizing the power of language to support marginalized folks for increased quality of life and healthy wellbeing. Axel is fluent in English and Spanish.
Ania Jakubek, Domestic Worker Organizer
Ania Jakubek has been the Domestic Worker Organizer at Arise Chicago since 2010. Born and raised in Poland, Ania came to the U.S. in 1998 to work as a domestic worker, a position she held for 8 years while attending college. Prior to Arise Chicago, for five years, she was an organizer for the Northwest Neighborhood Federation, which partnered with SEIU’s Hospital Accountability Project. She also coordinated the New American Initiative program, which assisted immigrants in filing for and obtaining citizenship. Ania brings her passion for organizing Domestic Workers to Arise through recruiting, training, and by providing workforce and leadership development to Arise members. A trained interpreter, Ania is fluent in Polish and English.
Jenny Maoloni, Accounts Manager
Jenny Maoloni (she/her), the Arise Chiacgo Accounts Manager since 2012, received her master's degree in Library & Information Science from Dominican University and her bachelor's degree in Speech Language Pathology from Elmhurst College. Before joining Arise she worked at a financial firm and a small business. Jenny manages all aspects of accounting, processing donations, payroll, audits, government compliance forms, organizational insurance, and the benefits programs at Arise.
Jorge Mújica, Strategic Campaigns Organizer
Jorge Mújica Murias joined Arise as the Strategic Campaigns Organizer in 2012. Born in Mexico, Jorge participated in labor and popular movements until he emigrated to the United States in 1987. Has worked as a journalist for several newspapers, Univision and Telemundo, and twice won the First Place award for Investigative Reporting from the Association of Hispanic Publicists. He is one of the main organizers of the 2006 immigrant rights marches, and co-author of “Voces Migrantes, Movimiento 10 de Marzo”, a book about the immigration movement. Jorge has worked for several labor unions, is a member of the National Council of the National Union of Writers, and several community organizations that have fought for the interests of the Mexican community abroad. He was elected to the Mexican Federal Congress in 2021, representing the Mexican dyaspora. Jorge is fluent in Spanish and English.
Luke Sullivan, Religious Organizer
Luke Sullivan (he/him) has been the Religious Organizer at Arise Chicago since 2012, having served his first two years as an intern through the Dominican Volunteers USA Year of Service Program. As Religious Organizer he builds support from clergy and congregations for Arise Chicago’s union and non-union worker campaigns, public policy campaigns and to support Arise’s fundraising efforts. Luke coordinates Arise’s annual Labor in the Pulpit/on the Bimah/in the Minbar program, which places speakers in over 100 services over Labor Day weekend and distinguishes Arise as the program’s national leader. Luke is pursuing his graduate degree in nonprofit management and is an associate with the Congregation of St. Joseph. He is fluent in English and Spanish.
Resha Swanson, Worker Center Organizer
Resha (she/her) is a proud Southern Black woman committed to building racial and economic justice. Before moving to Chicago in 2021, she worked at an Alabama-based worker center where she organized alongside the undocumented community for labor and immigrant rights, managed press and media, and led policy advocacy campaigns. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Chicago where she studies job quality, labor policy, and worker organizing. Resha also holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University, and both a Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Alabama. Resha is fluent in English and Spanish.
Jose Uribe, Workplace Justice Campaigns Organizer
Jose Uribe (he/him) joined Arise Chicago in August 2021 after spending nine years working as a Union Organizer with American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). During his time at AFSCME, he organized homecare providers in Vermont and New Jersey, advocated for the expansion of medical interpreter services in California, partnered with public employees in Northern Virginia to grow their union’s power, supported cab drivers in Chicago and New Orleans in their fights against unregulated competitors, and educated migrant farm workers on their rights at work in North Carolina.He earned his Bachelor of Arts in the Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance from the University of Minnesota. In his spare time, he enjoys baking, music, and playing and collecting video games. Jose is fluent in English and Spanish.