CWA September Virtual Forum: #CWAInConversation: On Chicago Advocacy

September 8, 2020
Virtual Forum
Illinois, United States

CWA’s September Virtual Forum, we hear from The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Commissioner Rachel Arfa and Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez (33rd Ward) as they discuss advocacy in Chicago.


ABOUT Commissioner Rachel Arfa:

Rachel Arfa was appointed Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot in July 2020. Commissioner Arfa is the first deaf commissioner of MOPD, and the highest ranking deaf person to serve in a City government leadership role. Arfa comes to MOPD with years of experience as a disability and civil rights attorney. She has held numerous civic and leadership roles, including advocating to make Chicago’s cultural spaces accessible to people with disabilities. As MOPD Commissioner, Arfa leads the City of Chicago’s efforts to make Chicago a more accessible city. MOPD provides services including in the areas of independent living services (information and referral, home delivered meals, and home maker services), employment and youth transition services, home modifications, assistive technology, accessible housing and architectural accessibility. MOPD also creates policies on disability accessibility, accessible transportation and emergency preparedness. Arfa is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A. American Culture) and the University of Wisconsin School of Law (J.D.)

Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez:

Rossana Rodriguez is serving her first term as alderman of Chicago’s 33rd Ward. Rossana is a mother and resident of the Albany Park neighborhood. Prior to becoming alderman, Rossana worked as a youth educator and was involved in community groups as an activist and organizer. Originally from Puerto Rico, Rossana has been a lifelong advocate for public education, labor rights, and the wellbeing of youth and families. Her career as an educator includes eight years as a director and mentor in a nationally acclaimed youth theater company in Albany Park, where she guided high school students to fulfill their artistic and academic potential. Rossana is the first Latinx Alderman to represent the 33rd Ward. She serves as chair of the immigration committee on the City Council’s Latino Caucus and is a member of the Progressive Caucus.