In September 2017, Angelica Salas was elected to serve on The California Wellness Foundation’s Board of Directors. Salas is the executive director of CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. In this role since 1999, she has spearheaded several ambitious campaigns locally, statewide and nationally. She helped win in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students and helped establish day laborer job centers that have served as a model for the rest of the nation. She led efforts to allow all California drivers to obtain driver licenses and, as an active member of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement and Reform Immigration for America, she is a leading spokesperson on federal immigration policy.
Under her leadership, CHIRLA and its partners across the country have built the foundation for the recent upsurge in immigrant rights activism. As a member of a national coordinating committee, Salas helped convene a coalition of organizations in California that have successfully mobilized millions of immigrants to demand comprehensive immigration reform, including legalization with a path to citizenship, family reunification, and the protection of civil and labor rights.
One of Salas’ greatest accomplishments at CHIRLA has been the transformation of a coalition of social service providers into an organization that empowers immigrants to engage in advocacy on their own behalf. In this respect, she has blazed a pioneering trail among immigrant coalitions around the country and has propelled other immigrant rights groups to follow her lead.
She comes by her understanding of the immigrant experience firsthand. As a 5-year-old, Angelica came to the U.S. from Mexico to rejoin her parents who had come to the U.S. to find work and better provide for their family.