NADP Fellow Leads Voter Registration Efforts at Erie House


September 7, 2016 | Chicago, IL

Javier Arellano

Javier Arellano will serve as an NADP fellow at Erie House with the goal of registering eligible voters in the immigrant community. FILE PHOTO

New Americans Democracy Project (NADP) fellow Javier Arellano will begin serving at Erie Neighborhood House as the agency seeks to increase efforts to register eligible voters in advance of the November 8 general election.

The NADP fellowship is made possible by Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), which hosted a kick-off event for the program last month at Erie House that was attended by State Senators Omar Aquino (2nd District) and Iris Martinez (20th District), Representative Mike Quigley (D-Ill), and staff from the office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill). In all, ICIRR has enlisted 20 NADP fellows with the goal of collectively registering 25,000 new immigrant voters this year.

“We’re excited to have Javier join us in our efforts to strengthen the voices of immigrants in our community,” says Erie House executive director Kirstin Chernawsky. “So much hinges on this election, and it is critically important that the immigrant voters have a voice in the decisions being made at the federal, state and local levels.”

Arellano is a recent graduate of DePaul University, having earned a bachelor of arts in intercultural communications earlier this spring. He says his interest in the fellowship was heightened by his parents’ recently earned status as legal permanent residents in the country.

“Even though they can’t vote yet, I want them to understand the importance of voting and having a voice,” he says, “so that when they are citizens and they can vote, they’ll exercise that right.”

Arellano plans to work with local businesses, schools, and public institutions in order to reach eligible voters in the community. He will also train and lead volunteers in neighborhood canvassing efforts.

The fellowship will be supervised by the Health and Leadership program at Erie House. “Without Javier we wouldn’t have the resources to set such ambitious goals for voter registration and mobilization,” says program director Micaella Verro.

Verro points out that this voter registration effort is core to the mission of Erie House. “Many individuals in this population—immigrants and those who are newly citizens—aren’t used to taking part in democracy,” says Verro. “This gives them a voice and an opportunity to affect change by one simple act—voting. I think that is powerful.”

Arellano will participate in the fellowship through Election Day, aiming to both register new voters as well as secure pledges from those already registered to encourage a strong voter turnout on November 8. For more information on the fellowship and opportunities to partner with NADP to host a voter registration event, please email

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Erie Neighborhood House (ENH) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that reaches 18,000 people annually, empowering them to build better lives while strengthening their communities. ENH offers Chicago’s Latinx and diverse low-income residents a range of community-based education programs. With forward-thinking leadership, ENH is committed to continuing its legacy of cost effective, award-winning programming. For more information, please visit

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