Our Staff


IMG_4447 (1)Christian Diaz

Executive Director

Christian grew up on the Northwest Side of Chicago in a Spanish-speaking home. He is a youth organizer with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, where he politicizes high school students to lobby for better schools. Christian graduated with a B.A. in Global Studies at Warren Wilson College in 2012. His first organizing campaign led him to recruit 300 volunteers to register more than 1200 Latino voters in Logan Square through the New Americans Democracy Project with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. In his spare time, Christian writes creative non-fiction, calls out racism, looks super cute and whips his phantom-ponytail to filthy dance tracks. In 2013 Christian was elected “cutest pouty face of Logan Square” for the third consecutive year.

Jen Dean 

Director of Operations

Jen is the Operations Director at Chicago Votes, a non profit devoted to organizing and developing young leaders who focus on expanding voting rights and accessibility. Her primary job at Chicago Votes is to get youth both excited and involved in politics. Jen’s passion for human rights and systemic social change began where she grew up in Utica NY, which is home to one of the largest refugee resettlement communities in the US.  At 18, she moved to Tampa where she obtained a BA in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s in Sociology. She began organizing right away focusing on issues relevant to youth. During this time she became a founding member of STAND, an organization that aims to prevent genocide by getting students to organize, advocate, and educate folks on how to reach and hold elected officials accountable for legislative action. She is also a co-founder of Baby University in Tampa which is a program modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone. During graduate school she moved to Chicago to study the growing violence epidemic, which resulted in a published book on activism; which highlighted the value of social capital and collective efficacy in violence prevention efforts. After falling in love with Chicago she has since been a resident of the South Side and continues to mentor young people. When she is not organizing or keeping the office together, she is practicing yoga, chilling at “The Point”, cooking up something special or giving her dog Marley (named after Bob Marley) some lovin.


IMG_4445 (1)Rudy Garrett

Program Director

A Hoosier native, Rudy graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in political science and international studies. She moved to Chicago in August of 2013 to attend culinary school, but found her inner activist instead. She  completed the Chicago Votes Winter internship program in late winter/ early spring of 2014. After working at a law firm in the loop, she took a job as a Chicago Votes Field Organizer during the summer/ fall voter registration project and has been working with the organization ever since. Rudy is excited to show young Chicagoans that they can make a difference in their city and encourage the millennial generation to take an active role in the political system.


unnamedBreanna Champion 

Organizing Director

Breanna is a Chicago native who grew up on the south side of Chicago. After attending a year of school at the University of Missouri,Breanna moved back to Chicago in the summer of 2012 where she energetically began volunteering and attending rallies amid the historic mass Chicago public school closures. While a student at University of Illinois at Chicago, Breanna joined the IIRON Student network as a student organizer and the Black Youth Project 100. Hitting the ground running in the summer of 2014 as a newly trained organizer,Breanna registered over 1,000 young people to vote during that summer with Chicago Votes as an organizer, joined the We Charge Genocide youth delegation to present a report on police torture in Chicago at the United Nations that fall in November, and managed a victorious aldermanic campaign the following April of 2015. Breanna is now the organizing co-chair of the BYP 100 Chicago Chapter and Chicago Vote’s new Field Director. She looks forward to winning campaigns that lead to the structural liberation. She does not want to be apart of your revolution if she can’t dance.

 


IMG_4444 (1)Derek Elliot Bagley

Development Director

Derek Elliott Bagley is a lifelong Chicagoan who’s family has lived in and around the Chicagoland area for over 100 years. Due to his strong ties to the city, Derek has devoted his intellectual and professional career to bettering the civic process in his home town. He holds a BA in Government from Skidmore College in upstate New York, and is currently a candidate for his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies at DePaul University. On top of his academic pursuits, Derek is a seasoned veteran of the local non-profit, government, and political worlds, and has been spreading his message of fairer, balanced, and more effective civic action for the last 7 years. Recently, Derek was a Lead Field Organizer at Chicago Votes. Over his 4 month employment at the organization, his team registered 15,000 voters in Chicagoland – 1,100 of which Derek registered personally. He is thrilled to be serving in this new role as a member of Chicago Votes’ Board of Directors, because it allows him to continue his lifelong work of creating a more diverse, robust, and youthful voice in the city’s democratic process. Derek lives in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood with his partner Hayley Allison Barber, and dedicates much of his personal time to furthering artistic and creative pursuits throughout the Midwest.