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Mony Ruiz-Velazco

Mony Ruiz-Velasco is a human rights advocate and the Deputy Director at Equality Illinois where she works to advance a more equitable Illinois for all LGBTQ+ communities. For more than two decades, Mony worked to combine organizing, advocacy, and legal efforts on behalf of immigrant rights and social justice.

Before joining Equality Illinois, Mony was the Associate Director for Network Power at Alianza Americas, a transnational human rights organization that advocates for immigrant justice. She was also Executive Director of PASO – West Suburban Action Project where they advocated for local and statewide policy change, provided legal services, and organized local communities for systemic change. Mony also worked at the National Immigrant Justice Center for nearly thirteen years, where she became the legal director. Mony has been advocating for LGBTQ+ families for decades. She has also provided legal counsel and representation to thousands of immigrants and their families focusing on women, LGBTQ immigrants, survivors of crimes and other vulnerable populations. Mony has worked regionally and nationally on anti-deportation and anti-criminalization campaigns. She advises and assists legislators and their staff regarding policy and legislation at the federal, state, and local levels. Her work includes the Violence Against Women Act, the Illinois Trust Act, RISE Act, VOICES Act, and previous efforts on immigration reform. She is currently on the board at NIJC and the advisory board for Define American. She previously served as the Board President at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights and was on the board of Equality Illinois. In 1999, she graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas and attended Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi where she obtained a BA in English degree. Mony grew up in Mexico and in South Texas. Mony is queer, lives with her partner, Denise, and is the proud mother of three beautiful children, Christopher, Emma and Liam.