Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director
Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director of Arise Chicago since 2007, has been partnering with religious leaders to bring a fuller measure of God’s justice to the workplace since 1993. She has organized faith-labor coalitions in five U.S. cities. She currently serves as the Harry F. Ward Pastor for Social Justice at Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church in Oak Park, and as a board member for Community Renewal Society. Hawking is a visiting lecturer on labor and social movements at the University of Illinois and co-authored Staley: The Fight for the New American Labor Movement (University of Illinois Press, 2009) which won three Book of the Year awards.
Adam Kader, Worker Center Director
Adam Kader received his master’s degree in Urban Planning and Public Policy with a concentration in Community Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As part of his Lawrence University undergraduate research in Bolivia, he studied with a feminist organization and met with indigenous leaders, including Evo Morales. He has taught the “Labor and Social Movements” course at the University of Illinois. Adam is a founding member of the Popular Education Alliance and the Chicago chapter of the Planners Network. Before joining Arise Chicago in 2006, he worked as a research assistant at the Great Cities Institute and worked in immigrant adult education at Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Centro Romero, and Albany Park Community Center. Adam is fluent in English and Spanish.
Shelly Ruzicka, Director of Operations
Shelly received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Intercultural Studies with a focus on Developed-Developing World Relations at Elmhurst College and received the Founders Award for Service, the college’s highest honor awarded a student. While at Elmhurst she studied for one semester at Oxford University, and later spent an academic summer term in Ecuador. She has participated as a former grantee representative on a Crossroads Fund grant-making committee, presented at a Center for Nonprofit Success Fundraising Summit, and has provided peer support on fundraising and administrative systems to other worker centers around the country. Shelly also serves as Co-Chair on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fair Trade, and on the Upstart Board at Crossroads Fund. As Director of Operations, she manages communications, volunteers, office management, fundraising, and finances for Arise Chicago. She has blogged for Gapers Block, Labor Notes, and Dignity at Work; and has photos published by The Nation, Dissent, Gapers Block , Popular Resistance, and Dignity at Work. Shelly speaks English and Spanish.
Ania was born in Poland. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Warsaw. She came to the U.S. in 1998 and worked as a domestic worker. She later received her an associates degree in fine arts from Truman College. From 2005 till 2010, she worked for the Northwest Neighborhood Federation as an organizer. She is a co-founder of the Polish Initiative of Chicago where she recruited and developed a core leadership team. As a Worker Center Organizer recruits and assigns roles to new Polish members, and is currently focusing on organizing domestic workers. Ania is fluent in Polish and English.
Carolyn earned her master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Administration with an emphasis on group therapy and community organizing. Prior to starting at Arise Chicago, Carolyn worked in social service agencies that supported immigrant survivors of interpersonal violence, human trafficking, and torture. Carolyn’s professional interests include narrative therapy, anti-oppressive social work, and community organizing. She holds a dual B.A. in art history and sociology/anthropology from Carleton College and is fluent in both Spanish and English. As Worker Center Organizer Carolyn meets with workers after they have attended a Worker Rights Workshop to provide options on how to address workplace problems, including organizing co-workers and creating strategies for direct action.
Jorge Mújica, Strategic Campaigns Organizer
Jorge Mújica was born in Mexico City and participated in several popular movements in Mexico until he moved to the United States in 1987. As a journalist, he worked in several Spanish language newspapers, in Univision and Telemundo Spanish TV stations, and won two “First Place” awards by the National Association of Hispanic Publishers. As an activist, Jorge has collaborated with many labor unions in organizing and election campaigns, picket lines, and strikes, and is a member of several community organizations dealing with Mexico-USA issues, from remittances to the right to vote from abroad. He is one of the three conveners of the historic immigrant rights marches in Chicago in 2006, and ran for the US Congress in 2009, representing the immigration movement in the electoral arena. As Strategic Campaigns Organizer he works with large groups of workers who are interested in organizing for long-term workplace improvements. Jorge is fluent in Spanish and English.
Gabriela Rivero, Worker Center Member Organizer
Gabriela is originally from South America. She moved to Chicago 20 years ago at which time she worked in a restaurant. She then began working in sales and worked her way up to account management at several large telecommunications companies. She first came to the Worker Center after facing discrimination at her workplace. She works as a member organizer where she coordinates and facilitates Spanish and English Worker Rights Workshops in our office and at community locations. As member organizer, she is charged with maintaining and increasing member involvement, and developing leaders. She is a certified bilingual interpreter and an OSHA-certified health and safety trainer. Gabriela is fluent in Spanish and English.
Luke Sullivan, Religious Organizer
Luke Sullivan is serving a second year as a full-time volunteer with Arise through the Dominican Volunteers USA Year of Service Program. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology and Spanish. While in school, he was vice-president for two years of United-2-Heal, an interfaith humanitarian aid organization that collects and redistributes surplus medical supplies from area hospitals and ships them to resource-poor hospitals around the world, focusing mainly on the country of Ghana. As Religious Organizer he builds religious support for Worker Center and union worker campaigns and coordinates the annual Labor in the Pulpit/on the Bimah/in the Minbar program. Luke speaks English and Spanish.