Interim Executive Director
Roderick Wilson is the Executive Director of the Lugenia Burns Hope Center. He is a board member of the governance board of Chicago Housing Initiative. He has Bachelors of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Northeastern Illinois University. Mr. Wilson is the Chairperson of People United for Action and a Local School Council Trainer with CPS. Rod Wilson has also provided legislative strategy for GYO Illinois. Before moving to Chicago Rod attended school at Parkland College in Champaign, IL. Rod was President of the Black Student Association and member of the Dean’s List at Parkland. While in Champaign, Rod coordinated summer camps for preschoolers in public housing developments. In addition, he worked for the Urban League of Champaign County as a Site Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist. Rod then moved to Chicago in 1997 and worked as an African Dance Instructor with the Youth and Family Resource Center at a local park district facility. He worked for KOCO briefly as a GED Tutor and Volunteer Coordinator. He then began working with residents in the Chicago Housing Authority developments of Statewide Gardens and the Robert Taylor Homes with Urban Relocation Services. Before coming to the Hope Center, Rod was one of the senior organizers and program coordinators at the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) from 2000 – 2012.
Pastor Ron Taylor
Ron is one of the Founding members of UCCRO and served as an Executive Council Board member for 9 years before accepting the Director’s position. He has played a significant role working as a member of the UCCRO Advocacy Team and the legislative victories they’ve had in the last 5 years. He brings over 16 years of experience in community organizing and non-profit work, serving in different capacities of leadership over those years including as: Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at Target Area Development Corporation for about 8 years; Director of Coalitions and Organizing at Target Area for 4 years and Director of Reentry programs for 3 years. Ron is the founder and currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Disciples for Christ Church for the last 18 years, which is a multiracial church based in Oak Lawn IL. He is nearly complete, working toward his BA in Business at Capella University with a focus on Management and Leadership and has made the Dean’s List each year since starting in the fall of 2011, currently holding a 3.7 GPA. He’s been married to his wife, Johnnie for 38 years and has a 21-year-old daughter, Rebecca, and 18-month old granddaughter, Harmony.
Alhelí joined UCCRO as a staff member in 2015, but has been engaged with the organization since she was a staff at Enlace Chicago since 2009. Alhelí comes to UCCRO with 12 years of working experience in the non-profit world. She started out as a youth leader with SWOP (Southwest Organizing Project) working on issues affecting undocumented immigrant youth such as in-state tuition at state universities and the DREAM Act. She received organizing training and experience with ICIRR (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights). Alhelí is also a citizenship instructor and adult educator, has program management and implementation skills, grant writing experience, budget and financial management, and curriculum development experience. Mrs. Irizarry holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Fine Arts and majored in Latin American and Latino Studies. She was a public figure for DREAMERs (undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as small children). She resides in Berwyn with her husband, Michael and their children Adan and Ivette.
Mecole Jordan graduated from Western Illinois University with a BA in Organizational Communication and Masters of Science degree in Human Resource Management at Capella University. She began her non-profit career volunteering for Target Area Development in 2006-2012 starting with the SMART Act campaign to reduce the criminalization of individuals with drug addiction. She also provided direct oversight for Community Support Advisory Council (CSAC), an IDOC reentry program providing comprehensive wraparound support for the formerly incarcerated and violence prevention programs such as Ceasefire Auburn Gresham. Mecole assisted with grant writing, website design and development, building organizational structure, developing and executing the new hire orientation and training for Target Area’s Safe Passage program. Finally, she conducted trainings and executive administrative support for the Statewide Action and Grassroots Education Initiative (SAGE), building relationships and engaging community organizations and parents in Chicago, Oak Lawn, Rockford, Decatur, Springfield, and Bloomington Illinois. Mecole began working UCCRO’s work in 2010 as a member the advocacy team and trainer for our Racial Equity Curriculum. She aided in the development and execution of UCCRO conventions and annual retreats. In 2013, Mecole worked part-time with UCCRO as the coordinator of the Equal Voice Membership Campaign. In 2015, Mecole organized nearly 800 Illinois Early Intervention providers and parents around the State budget, bringing attention vulnerable infants and toddlers losing needed therapies during the budget impasse. Mecole currently lives in the south suburbs with her 3-year-old daughter, Micaela Grace.