The Puerto Rican Cultural Center is excited to announce the appointment of our Chief Operating Officer, Juan Calderón, to sit on the Illinois Commission on the Elimination of Poverty. This commission of experts engages in research and advises the Illinois General Assembly on how to utilize the resources of the State of Illinois so that it would target and reduce food insecurity, expand much needed mental health services, and make it easier to receive crucial child care assistance, among other strategies designed to uplift severely resource strapped communities around the state.
This high-level, statewide assignment is a natural progression for Calderón who has worked in the Puerto Rican/Latino community for more than a decade creating programs and initiatives that have successfully employed dozens and served thousands of poor community residents. Calderón celebrates his intersectional pedigree as he identifies as Afro-Puerto Rican, Mexican, part of an immigrant family struggling with no documentation, gay, gender non-conforming, and formerly homeless. Each of these realities plays a real and profound role in Calderón’s life, and the intersection of their experiences inform his understanding of the complexity of the struggle to eliminate poverty.