CAAAELII is a groundbreaking cross-racial, cross-cultural collaborative. Our work is centered on creating a new model for organizations serving immigrant and other disenfranchised communities: an organic amalgam of leadership development, organizing, activism, concrete social change and direct services. It is one of the largest immigrant-led coalitions in the country.
We believe that there is a potential within every person to be a leader.
We believe that people most directly affected by the issues are in the best position to advocate for themselves.
When provided with the space and resources for effective cross-cultural collaboration, our diverse leaders can learn more about themselves and begin to take ownership of other people's oppression, thereby transforming the language of You-and-I to We. CAAAELII's work centers on breaking down cultural and linguistic barriers in order for immigrant groups to realize their common struggles and to work for social change.
What We Do
CAAAELII's partner agencies participate in an extensive citizenship and civic action project. These classes are a natural conduit for moving immigrants towards civic action through our organizing and education efforts. We build on the premise that direct service combined with direct action can result in social justice. By themselves, most of our partners are primarily direct service providers. Through CAAAELII, these organizations integrate organizing to empower their communities.
How We Do This
As immigrants or children of immigrants, we promote an alternative that is based on our rich cultural history and experience of overcoming the inequalities we had and continue to encounter in our lives today. Our approach is to value peoples' experience so that a critical analysis on race, gender, class and sexual orientation have a context and not just theoretical rhetoric. This dialogue creates the framework for people to act together and realize the many different options grassroots organizing takes in linking the issues and not taking only the winnable issues. Rather the concerns are linked in our analysis so that one small win can create space for a larger piece in constructing a more democratic and just society.
1) Active Citizen Technology In Our Neighborhood(ACTION) Technology Curriculum and Classes- award-winning technology curriculum, job search skills and technology classes geared toward low-literate, low-English proficient students. The IL Department of Human Services Refugee and Citizenship Initiative (RICI) and the Polk Bros. Foundation support this project.
2)Financial Literacy for Immigrant Population (FLIP) - Is a curriculum that teaches budgeting, baking, and wealth creation to low-literate, low-English proficient students. The office of the City'sTreasurer and the Polk Bros. Foundation support this project.
3) Community Health Promoters (Promotores) - CAAAELII community health education, outreach and grassroots organizing. The Crown Family Philanthropies, Baxter International and the Marguerite Casey Foundation support this project.
4) GROW Project- CAAAELII organizational capacity building for emerging ethnic community based organizations (CBOs). The Chicago Community Trust supports this project.
For more information on CAAAELII, visit our website at www.caaaelii.org.