José Luis Torrez was born and raised in Southwest Chicago. He is a community organizer, leader, educator and mentor.
José’s, fundamental values come from his working-class family. His mom continues to work at St. Agnes of Bohemia’s school lunchroom and his dad works as a janitor. Jose’s parents are his inspiration to create a voice for those whose vote has been silenced. At the age of 17 he became deeply involved in voter registration drives. At this youthful age he already knew the power of each vote. He joined several campaigns becoming a lead organizer and lead fellow for major progressive campaigns.
As Civic Engagement Coordinator of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute José has registered over 7,000 people to vote and led campaigns to register over 30,000 people to vote in the Midwest. His strong grassroots experience combine with his eagerness for change for equitable access and equitable representation for all tax payers has led him to be recognized by several networks as a progressive leader. Some of the media outlets that have interview him include PBS News Hour and WNYC The Takeaway.
José has been a member of the long standing Independent Progressive Organization (IPO). Some of the major campaigns he has worked on include President Barack Obama’s and Cook County Commissioner, Mayoral Candidate and now Congressional candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s. Other races include Alma Anaya for County Commissioner, and Aaron Ortiz’s historic victory against long standing Representative Dan Burke.
Jose’s deep passion and commitment to helping others has made him one of the most valuable professionals in Chicago. He has made a difference in many people’s lives and has served as an inspiration to others. In 2017 he was awarded advisor of the year in Chicago City Colleges for his relentless work with thousands of college students. Torrez managed to have the highest number of students stay in college, complete their associates and transfer them into four-year colleges. The secret to transform his students’ lives is based on providing students with the wrap-around services they needed to become successful -especially with non-traditional students such as the DACA students. José was one of the leaders in the movement in City Colleges advocate for the allocation of resources for undocumented students/DACA recipients at City Colleges of Chicago. He founded the Undocumented Students and Allies Club. The movement led to the creation of the Undocumented Resource Center and Monarch Scholarship. In addition, he provided training to all City College advisors on how to service Undocumented Students/DACA recipients.
José resides in Chicago and is a community member of the neighborhood of Archer Heights.
“Our city is ready for change”
- Jose Luis Torrez