Co-Founder of Organized Communities Against Deportations

Unemployed Workers United, Organized Communities Against Deportations

Reyna (Rey) Wences (pronouns: they/them) was born in Mexico City and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Rey grew up undocumented and became involved in community organizing after graduating high school. In 2009, they co-founded the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), an undocumented-led organization in Chicago that spearheaded the campaign to “Come Out of the Shadows” the following year. By 2013, Rey and other local organizers created Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) a community organization focused on campaigns against the deportations, immigrant detention, and criminalization of immigrant communities in Illinois.

During their time as campaign organizer with OCAD between 2018-2020, Rey coordinated a coalition of grassroots organizations and led the campaigns to Erase the Gang Database in Cook County and the City of Chicago – in 2019 the coalition was successful in pushing the Sheriff to decommission the county’s gang database.

Today, Rey leans on over a decade of experience in grassroots organizing, direct action, and executing communications strategies with communities in cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix and New Orleans, against the criminalization of Black and Brown people. Currently, Rey is the Director of Communications at Unemployed Workers United, a national organization focused on economic justice. Locally, Rey continues their contributions to Chicago organizing as a member of the United Working Families Executive Committee.


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