Covering three bases with one appointment, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has named Mona Noriega, a half-Irish, half-Latina lesbian activist, as Commissioner of the Department of Human Relations, the agency in charge of fighting prejudice and discrimination in Chicago.
“During the transition, my team strove to include a rich diversity of perspectives and called on Chicagoans to be involved in developing solutions for our city,” said the Mayor-elect. “Mona has a proven record bringing Chicagoans together on issues that matter to all communities and building coalitions to move our city forward. With her deep appreciation for the diversity that makes Chicago great and her experience creating partnerships, Mona will be a strong and able leader of Human Relations.”
Mona Noriega has dedicated her life and career to eliminating prejudice and discrimination and is committed to advancing the appreciation of Chicago’s diverse population.
She co-founded and served on the Board of Directors of Amigas Latinas, an organization committed to the empowerment and education of Latina LBT women in Chicago. Noriega also worked as the Regional Director of Lambda Legal Defense’s Midwest office, which advances the civil rights of LGBT individuals.
As an Assistant Publisher for the Windy City Times, she directed marketing efforts and managed client relationships for the paper. Additionally, Noriega has served as the board chair for the Girl’s Best Friend Foundation. Noriega received her MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BA from Northeastern Illinois University.
The appointment got a good write-up in Noriega’s former employer, the Windy City Times, which pointed out that Noriega last year sought appointment to the 1st Ward aldermanic seat vacated by Manny Flores. Mayor Daley chose Proco “Joe” Moreno instead.
“The appointment of Mona is excellent,” well-known gay activist Rick Garcia told the newspaper. “She has such a stellar reputation and she will be great for the City of Chicago. I was a strong supporter of her when she wanted to serve in the City Council because of her impeccable credentials and her strong commitment to fairness for all. This is a perfect position for her and she will do our community and the whole city proud.”
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