Ana Romero is the Executive Director of Women for Economic Justice. She is the former Director of New Initiatives for Chicago Workers’ Collective. Before joining the Chicago Workers’ Collective, Ana was the Director of the Centralized Training Institute at the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network. She has dedicated her entire life to challenging the social and economic disparities fostered by a system founded on inequality and oppression. Her early incursion into social and political movements was in her hometown, Mexico City. During Ana’s high school years she became actively involved in the international solidarity effort to support Central American national liberation struggles. She continued her anti-oppression activism in college, but this time with a perspective on gender – where she became active in the anti-sexual assault movement on campus.
Ana has been active in the anti-violence against women movement in the United States and abroad for over 25 years. She has had the privilege to collaborate with a wide gamut of indigenous, peasant, labor, and feminist social justice organizations in Mexico, Argentina, France, Spain and the Philippines. In addition, Ana has extensive experience in adult-centered and popular education methodologies, curriculum development training, advocacy and community organizing.
Ana is proud of the work and contributions that the anti-violence against women movement has made and yet, she is a dissenting voice and holds a sharp critique of the path the mainstream movement has taken in recent years. In an effort to offer an alternative model that addressed the multiple identities and needs of domestic violence survivors, Ana founded CASA SEGURA (Safe Home), in 2002. CASA SEGURA was a community-driven project, initiated on the Chicago Southwest side of Chicago: a predominantly Latino community, with of a large percentage of undocumented residents. In addition to her work with CASA SEGURA, Ana was also deeply concerned with the plight of survivors in immigrant communities who were faced with limited or non-existing opportunities to work and therefore had no choice but to remain in a violent household. Urged by her work experience and the many voices of survivors, Ana co-founded Women for Economic Justice (WEJ) another community driven organization, whose focus is to promote survivor economic self-sufficiency, in 2009.
Ana’s “after hours” grassroots work and experiences, coupled with her position at the Battered Women’s Network, has strategically functioned as a bridge to exchange information, share best practices, promote collaboration and build trust among emerging community projects and mainstream domestic violence organizations in Chicago. The success of this “bridging” strategy was solidified in 2011, by the creation of Network’s Community Engagement Initiative, which is led by Ana Romero. The goal of this initiative is to actively engage survivors and communities in the movement’s overall collective efforts. Ana likes to say that, “engaging women, men, girls, and boys from all communities as leaders in the social justice movements is the only way that we will be able to meet our vision of ending violence against women and girls”.