Sonia Ramirez CHCI Alumnus October 2008
Legislative Representative, Department of Government Affairs, AFL-CIO
Fellowship 1995-1996: Democratic National Committee - Office of Latino Outreach
What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?
After completing the CHCI fellowship I joined the Clinton/ Gore campaign as a regional political organizer. This was a great experience that allowed me to test my skill in community organizing and fueled my passion for politics. I was also able to get back home to California after my year in DC and apply the lessons learned through the CHCI program.
After the campaign I realized that my work in DC was not done so I returned to Capitol Hill. After years of serving in both constituent services and legislative positions for members of Congress I found a job that allowed me to embrace my life passions - organizing, politics and the quest to move public policy that advances social and economic justice. I joined the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) as a legislative representative fighting for the rights of working families. The AFL-CIO is a federation of 53 national and international labor unions that represents over 10 million working women and men. The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families-to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation.
What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?
The CHCI fellowship was a critical step in my life journey and I feel has strongly contributed to my personal success. CHCI gave me an opportunity to test my years of academic training in a professional setting and did so with the backdrop of Washington DC, the center of political and government affairs. But, perhaps most empowering is that it exposed me to Latino leaders taking charge and changing people's lives - the most powerful and life altering thing you could show a young Latina that dreamed of making it big in politics and changing the world. CHCI gave me the tools and the strength to pursue my dreams - and I am still on that path.
How have you stayed engaged in community service?
I have continued my engagement in community service both in my official duties representing the AFL-CIO on a variety of informational and educational panels and national conferences and through the Federation's political programs that have allowed me to work in communities across the country in support of candidates that stand up for working people. I have always believed in the power behind an organized and collective voice. Every electoral cycle the AFL-CIO engages in an extensive process of outreach, education and mobilization of our members in the political process. I find my participation in this process very empowering because it connects me directly to communities and members and hearing directly from them gives great value and insight to my legislative work.
What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?
My advice to CHCI participants would be to dream big and recognize that you have a lifetime to accomplish it. I remember arriving at my first CHCI fellows meeting and being so anxious to get out there and realize all the hope that was being invested in us as "future leaders." I was exhausted in a week, and then I realized I had time, the program was about starting on a path and understanding the skills needed to achieve greatness and then enjoying the journey.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Wherever I am in 5-10 years I will be continuing on my life journey, pursuing my big dream of empowering communities and pushing for social and economic justice. More specifically, when I joined the national staff of the AFL-CIO I did not simply take a job, rather I enlisted in a movement. So I am certain that whatever title or office space I hold it will be tied to my commitment to the work of the labor movement ensuring that workers have a voice.
Past Alumni of the Month
Martha L. Bahamón - February 2015 Alumni of the Month
2013-14 CHCI Alumni Executive Board - January 2015 Alumni of the Month
Mariana Kihuen - December 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Henry Fernandez - November 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Ricardo Zavala - September 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Miryam Catherine Granthon-Gerdine - August 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Angelica Reza Wind - July 2014 Alumna of the Month
Ray Mateo - June 2014 Alumni of the Month
Hayde Calderon - May 2014 Alumni of the Month
Arnoldo Avalos - April 2014 Alumni of the Month
Elizabeth Cedillo - March 2014 Alumni of the Month
Marvin Figueroa - February 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Cris Garza - January 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Jaden Felix - December 2013 Alumni of the Month
2013 Distinguished Alumni - October/November 2013 Alumni of the Month
Fabiola Carrion - September 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Juan C. Otero- August 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Norma Dominguez - July 2013 Alumni of the Month
Francisco Heredia - June 2013 - Alumnus of the Month
Raymond Rico - May 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Alejandra Castillo - April 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Yara Lorenzo - March 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Antonio E. Sandoval & Milagros “Mimi” Aledo-Sandoval - Alumni Couple of the Month
Abel Herrero - January 2013
Jessie Mosqueda - December 2012
Kenia Seoane Lopez - CHCI Alumnus November 2012
Hon. Liza Rodriguez - 2012 Distinguished Alumnus & October 2012 Alumnus
Melissa Chabran - CHCI Alumnus June 2012
Jessie Ulibarri - CHCI Alumnus May 2012
Congressional Staff-CHCI Alumni April 2012
Anthony Alcoser-CHCI Alumnus March 2012
Diana Mendoza-CHCI Alumnus February 2012
Betsaida Alcantara-CHCI Alumnus December 2011
Orson Aguilar - CHCI 2011 Distinguished Alumnus & September 2011 Alumnus
Cynthia T. Cruz-CHCI Alumnus August 2011
Miguel Lopez - CHCI Alumnus July 2011
Alejandro Becerra - CHCI Alumnus June 2011
Staff Members for the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy - CHCI Alumnus May 2011
Happy 30th Anniversary CHCI Fellowship Program!
Raul Magdaleno - CHCI Alumnus March 2011
Carlos Elizondo -- CHCI Alumnus December 2010
Ana M. Polanco -- CHCI Alumnus April 2010
Sami Hamed -- CHCI Alumnus March 2010
Couple Edition -- CHCI Alumnus February 2010
CHCI Alumni Association Chapters' Special Edition - October 2009
Edith Rocío Robles -- CHCI Alumnus August 2009
Silvia Inéz Salazar--CHCI Alumnus July 2009
Francisco J. Uribe CHCI Alumnus June 2009
Heidy Servin-Baez CHCI Alumnus April 2009
March 2009: White House Edition
William (Bill) Arce CHCI Alumnus February 2009
Stephanie Valencia CHCI Alumnus January 2009
Miguel Ayala CHCI Alumnus December 2008
Eric Rodriguez-CHCI Alumnus November 2008
Sonia Ramirez CHCI Alumnus October 2008
Mildred Otero CHCI Alumnus September 2008
Juan Ciscomani CHCI Alumus August 2008
Leo Prieto CHCI Alumnus July 2008
Octavio Saenz CHCI Alumnus June 2008