(CHICAGO, IL) - The board of directors of the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) announces its new executive director, Kristina Tendilla. The hiring culminates an eight month search process spearheaded by members of AFIRE’s board and staff, as well as its core leader ranks.
In accordance with the organization’s transition plan, AFIRE appointed longtime board member Ryan Viloria as interim executive director following the departure of outgoing executive director Michael Aguhar on June 30, 2019. “AFIRE is profoundly grateful for Ryan’s time serving as the interim executive director,” said Abbey Eusebio, chair of the AFIRE board and executive director search committee. “Ryan’s leadership of AFIRE was instrumental during our transition. He did an outstanding job strengthening our collaboration with organizational partners to further AFIRE’s grassroots work fighting for the rights of the Filipino/a/x community on issues that impact domestic workers, immigrants, seniors, and youth.”
Regarding his tenure, Viloria commented, "As my time as interim executive director draws to a close, I reflect upon working with the AFIRE staff as one of the great highlights of my career. I am relieved, not only with Kristina taking the reins of leadership as executive director, but also with the assurance of her strong ties to community and history of social justice work. The bayanihan spirit between the staff, board, and core leaders ensures that AFIRE is in the best of care. Padulong Pilipinx!"
On December 6, Tendilla officially assumed the duties of executive director from Viloria. Reflecting on the path that led her back to AFIRE, Tendilla stated, “Nearly 10 years ago, I first started working at AFIRE as an immigrant family & youth resources program coordinator and community organizer. AFIRE’s mission is significant to me as a child of immigrants. It was at AFIRE where I planted the seeds and deepened my growing passion for racial, worker, and immigrant justice.”
“Having long witnessed the transformative impact of AFIRE’s work, I have continued to be deeply invested in the organization,” said Tendilla. “AFIRE community members, staff, and board members have become my lifelong mentors, friends, and family. I am forever thankful to AFIRE for cultivating my leadership skills early on and equipping me with the requisite tools to thrive in the movement. Guided by the principles of People Power, I hope to work strategically with all our stakeholders to support the growth of the New Americans Initiative, secure greater protections for the marginalized by building on the historic success of the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights campaign, and expand AFIRE’s grassroots membership base. I return to AFIRE ready and determined to collaborate with the staff, board, and community to realize that collective vision.”
Tendilla most recently served as national field and campaigns manager for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and carries almost a decade’s worth of community organizing experience through positions at AFIRE, Bridgeport Alliance, Invisible 2 Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago (i2i), and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, among others.
The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE) is a grassroots community organization that builds the capacity of Filipino/a/xs* to organize on issues of social, racial, and economic justice that affect undocumented immigrants, domestic workers, seniors, and youth. For further information, please visit afirechicago.org.
* We use Filipino/a/x as shorthand for Filipino/Filipina/Filipinx to honor all gender identities.