Dagmara Avelar is the Program Manager for the New Americans Initiative and Immigrant Family Resource Program at ICIRR. As the manager of these programs, she works directly with 59 community-based organizations across the state of Illinois to address barriers to citizenship as well as language access primarily for immigrants and refugees. Dagmara was born in Quito, Ecuador but moved to Illinois at the age of 12. As a new immigrant settled in the southwest suburbs, she experienced first hand the challenges of moving to a new country.
For the past 10 years, she has dedicated her life to advancing pro-immigrant policies and programs. She was an active member of a delegation advocating for the passage of the DREAM Act in 2007, worked in several get out the vote efforts to promote civic engagement of new Americans in the southwest suburbs and most recently has worked closely in the creation, implementation, and coordination of ICIRR's Family Support Hotline. This hotline was the first of its kind in the state of Illinois catered to people who were experiencing a deportation crisis. Prior to her current role at ICIRR, Dagmara worked at Instituto Del Progreso Latino as an accredited representative with a focus on citizenship and DACA and was able to assist over 400 people in their immigration journey.
She earned a BA. in Justice Studies with a minor in Political Science from Northeastern Illinois University and is currently working on her Master's in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She currently resides in Bolingbrook, IL with her parents and sister, who she credits as her inspiration for her continued advocacy and organizing. She loves to travel and her two poodles, Jerry and Bella.