Leader Spotlight: Salvador Cerna

Salvador was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and is currently living in a neighborhood within Chicago, Illinois called Pilsen. He is a part of the Saint Maurice Church but also attends mass at Providence of God or Saint Pius. Salvador’s position at Gamaliel is the Board President of Pilsen Neighbors Community Council. He was originally the Chair of Civil Rights for the Immigrants Committee. Currently, Salvador is the Co-convener of Gamaliel of Metro Chicago.

How did you get involved with Gamaliel?

In November of 1996 I went to weeklong training where I was introduced into the Gamaliel network. Since then, I have been involved in Gamaliel in many different positions. 

How has your Catholic background influenced your work in social justice?

Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment of all,” and he responded, “love God with all of your heart and all of your might, and love thy neighbor as you love yourself.” I believe that God has given all of us a very special task, to fight for social justice for everyone. If I am happy, I should want my brother and sister to be happy. If I can walk down the street with my head held high and without the fear of persecution, then I would want the same for my neighbors. If I have a dignified job, healthcare, and a good roof over my head, not only do I want the same for my neighbor but also I have to fight to achieve it.

What issues in your community have you been addressing and how have they aligned with the Fire of Faith Campaign?

I have been addressing issues within the Pilsen community around jobs, the economy, education, and immigration within the Pilsen community.

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