AFIRE Chicago hires new executive director Kristina Tendilla

The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment Chicago – also known as AFIRE – today announced a new executive director, Kristina Tendilla.

According to AFIRE, Tendilla most recently served as the national field and campaign manager for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). She “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 hire culminates after an eight-month search process that was spearheaded by members of AFIRE’s board of directors and staff. AFIRE appointed longtime board member Ryan Viloria as interim executive director following the departure of outgoing executive director Michael Aguhar on June 30, 2019.

“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,” Viloria said in an announcement posted online. “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!”

Tendilla officially assumed the duties of executive director on December 6.

“Nearly ten years ago, I first started working at AFIRE as an immigrant family and 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,” Tendilla said.

“Having long witnessed the transformative impact of AFIRE’s work, I have continued to be deeply invested in the organization,” she added. “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.”

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 more information on AFIRE, please visit afirechicago.org.

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