Candidate Spotlight: Dee Avelar

Dagmara Avelar – Candidate for Illinois 85th District State Representative

Dagmara (Dee) Avelar was born in Quito, Ecuador.  At age 12, her family moved to Illinois. Dee adapted to her new home and graduated from Bolingbrook High School in 2005. She went on to earn a B.A. in Justice Studies, with a minor in Political Science, from Northeastern Illinois University in 2010.

For the past 12 years, Dee has dedicated her life to advancing pro-immigrant policies and programs.  She has worked to encourage voting and to promote civic engagement of new Americans throughout the southwest suburbs.  Most recently, Dee worked in the creation, implementation, and direction of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (ICIRR) Family Support Hotline.

In her current role as the Director of Programs for the New Americans Initiative and Immigrant Family Resource Program at ICIRR, Dee works directly with 59 community-based organizations across Illinois, addressing barriers to citizenship and language access, primarily for immigrants and refugees.  Prior to her current role at ICIRR, Dee 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.

Dee proudly became a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 2016.  She now has more than a decade of nonprofit and community engagement experience, with a passion for getting people involved in their communities.

Dee is now working on her Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She currently resides in Bolingbrook, with her parents and sister, whom she credits as the inspiration for her advocacy for families and social justice. When not involved in her work, she loves to travel and care for her two poodles, Jerry and Bella.