Nobody is going to do it but us.
Felipa’s life changed dramatically in 2009 when her twenty-year old son, Angel, was killed by street violence. While Felipa had already been organizing to make life better for low-income families and low-wage working women for years, as a day-labor activist and POWER-PAC leader, this heartbreaking event impassioned Felipa to dedicate herself to stopping community violence. Working with COFI and other activist mothers, Felipa created the Wells High “Peace Center,” where Angel had attended.
She worked with high school students in peace circles, providing a safe place to talk about what’s happening in their lives, receive mentorship from parent leaders, increase their self-esteem, and learn peacemaking-skills. Participants credit Felipa’s efforts with keeping them in school and helping them navigate relationships.
As President-Emeritus of POWER-PAC IL, Felipa has long mentored immigrant, Spanish-speaking mothers to become policy change leaders in Chicago. She is a key leader in both the Elementary Justice and Early Learning Campaigns. She is also a Lead Head Start Ambassador, going door-to-door each summer to help connect low-income and immigrant families with early learning resources. Additionally, she serves on COFI’s Board of Trustees.
Felipa, now also a proud grandmother, believes that this work is all interconnected and that it is all helping to stop the cycle of poverty and violence that disproportionately affects women of color and immigrant women and their families.
In 2013 Felipa was awarded the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Impact Award. Felipa was also featured in the above video and report by the Just and Fair Schools Fund, “Communities Turning the Tide on School Discipline,” on her involvement in bringing recess back to Chicago elementary schools.