Who We Are

ASE represents a breadth of organizations, civic leaders, members, and allies, all committed to reinvesting in the families and neighborhoods of Chicago’s Southeast Side. Together, we are making our communities stronger, safer, healthier and more powerful. (Interested in joining us? Go to our Member Page for more info!)

Executive Director: Amalia NietoGomez
Amalia NietoGomez has been the executive director/lead organizer for ASE since Jan. 2013. She:

  • Coordinates the Coalition for a South Works CBA to prioritize local residents for jobs, training, and education opportunities, affordable housing, &environmental sustainability at local developments on Chicago’s southeast side. Coalition members have met with 7 developers, & are currently negotiating with North Point developer.
  • Organizes Germano Millgate tenants around address health/safety issues. Results: In 2019, tenants organized 2 actions, resulting in a meeting with top regional U.S. Dept. of Housing &Urban Development official, Region V Administrator Joseph Galvan. Previously, tenants won $1.6 million in HUD funds released for capital repairs in 2017, reduction in pest-related asthma triggers by 45+% between 2013-2015, &agreement by owner to use $4.2 million in HUD funds to address top 5 tenant-identified priorities for repairs in 2015.
  • Organized youth leaders to hold 1st annual anti-violence march &rally. News coverage: Channel 5, 7,Television, Univision. Event is now held annually.
  • United local organizations & Ceasefire to establish local nonviolence zone. Results: Community events with 300-400 residents. 8 Safe Havens, places where a child can take shelter or request assistance.

Previously, Amalia was a board member of ASE, Alianza, and the Alianza/ASE transition board. Before joining ASE, she had 13 years of housing/ banking experience and community outreach. She has organized around predatory lending, abandoned buildings, immigrant rights, and education. Early in her career, Amalia directed statewide coalition efforts against predatory lending, resulting in passage of a city ordinance, state regulations, & state law. Highlights:

  • the City of Chicago passed first anti-predatory lending city ordinance in the U.S.
  • Illinois became only the ninth state to pass a strong anti-predatory lending law.
  • Protected assets: Two year decrease in foreclosures started in the City of Chicago– the first decrease in home foreclosure starts in over a decade (before the housing bubble burst).
  • Produced public policies that served as model for organization’s CRA agreements and national anti-predatory lending campaign.

Board of Directors
Major Kenneth Wilson, President
Senior Army Instructor, Bowen High School

Vanessa Schwartz, Secretary
Executive Director, Metropolitan Family Services– Southeast Chicago site

Arnold Bradford
Executive Director, Crossroads Collaborative

Danielle Cooper
Director of Strategy & Operations, Claretian Associates

Estela Nava (Member at large)
Owner, Estela’s Hair Care Studio

Fr. Hector Navalo
Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church

Joyce Coffee
Executive Director, Family Rescue

Marie Collins-Wright
Vice President, Jeffery Manor Community Revitalization Council

Mery Mercado
Member, Germano Millgate Leadership Team

Sterling Rogers
Member, Youth Leadership Council

Ana Guajardo, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos

Other Community Partners include:
Arnold Mireles Academy LSC
Bowen High School
Community Law Project
Crossroads Collaborative
DESI- Washington Heights Workforce Center
ETHOS (Environment, Transportation, Health, Open Space)
Heartfield Chicago
Jeffery Manor Community Revitalization Council
Olive Harvey City College
Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF)
Trees R Beautiful
Veteran’s Park Improvement Association
and more!

ASE-led Coalitions:
ASE organizes, coordinates, &staffs the Coalition for a South Works CBA. Goal: Present a powerful, united coalition of residents &community organizations in meetings with developers &public officials to obtain CBAs on local developments. ASE convenes monthly Coalition strategy sessions.

ASE also organizes the Youth Leadership Council. Participating students are from: Bowen High School, Arnold Mireles Academy, Baker College Prep, &Carver Military Academy. ASE coordinates weekly YLC meetings &provides leadership trainings for the youth.

ASE is a co-director for the Southeast Jobs Collaborative (SEJC). Goal: Develop a southeast side jobs pipeline to connect local residents to current jobs, trainings, &future jobs at proposed development sites. SEJC meets monthly.

ASE is a member of the following coalitions:
Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric (CMME)
Jobs to Move America (JMA)
Reimagine Chicago
South Chicago Neighborhood Network (SCNN)

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