Staff and Leadership


Executive Director: Juan F. Soto –

Juan Soto

312-666-2663 ext: 225

Juan F. Soto is the Executive Director of Gamaliel of Metro Chicago, Gamaliel of Illinois and Gamaliel Network’s Director of the Civil Rights for Immigrant Department. Juan is also a senior trainer for the Gamaliel Network and mentors and trains organizers at the local and national level.

He oversees Fiesta del Sol, the largest four day Mexican cultural event that draws in over 1.3 million people annually. Fiesta Del Sol is the largest, free family orientated, non-alcohol and tobacco-free festival in the U.S. Fiesta has been an economic engine that has supported the creation of entrepreneurship for many small business owners.




Sponsor Coordinator: Ana Padilla –

Ana Padilla

312-666-2663 ext: 222

Ana was born in Jalisco, Mexico and grew up on the near-north side of Chicago since the age of eight. Ana attended Harold Washington College where she obtained an Associates degree in Art with a concentration in Latin American/Latino Studies and a basics certification in Geographical Information Systems. She is currently seeking her Bachelor’s degree in Latin American/Latino Studies.

Ana joined Gamaliel of Metro Chicago at Pilsen Neighbors Community Council as a summer intern in 2008 and became a staff member in 2010. Ana has worked with the Fiesta del Sol vendors, ACT prep program and the Fiesta del Sol Scholarship Program. In 2015, Ana became the Manager of Operations for Pilsen Neighbors Community Council and the Fiesta del Sol Coordinator.

In her free time, Ana enjoys running marathons.




Co-Chair Fiesta del Sol: Tanya Cabrera –

Tanya Cabrera

Tanya has served as Chair of the National Advisory for Undocumented Student Access, a committee formed to call upon 2/4 year institutions to create policy and procedure for Undocumented Students across the United States. Tanya currently works for the University of Illinois Chicago. Formerly, she worked under the Vice Provost as Associate Director for Minority Outreach and Undocumented Student Initiatives at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She was recently appointed to serve as Chairman for the Illinois DREAM Fund Commission and Director for the Illinois Dream Fund (non-profit).

Tanya claims, that her early exposure to community activism and family values established her commitment of civic responsibility to her family and community.



Co-Chair Fiesta del Sol:  Gardenia Rangel –

Gardenia Rangel

Gardenia Rangel attended DePaul University for both undergrad and graduate school. She is passionate about bridging resources and raising funds for scholarships.  She is an active member of  Pilsen Neighbors Community Council and has chaired the Fiesta del Sol’s 5K Run/Walk (2012-2013), and is currently Co-Chairing the annual Fiesta del Sol (2013-2017).

Gardenia enjoys traveling and cooking. During her free time, you can find Gardenia singing karaoke with her friends and colleagues.






Business Coordinator: Alfredo Echeverria –

Alfredo received his BA from Columbia College Chicago. He is very passionate about working within the Latino community. His previous experience working as a Student Outreach Coordinator and Special Events Coordinator for the Chicago Latino Film Festival has prepared him to work as a Business Coordinator for Pilsen Neighbors Community Council and Fiesta del Sol.

During his spare time, you can find Alfredo reading or practicing his photography.

Media and Communications Coordinator: Edgar E. Lopez-Perez –

Edgar Lopez grew up in the south side neighborhood, “Back of the Yards”. He is a first generation U.S. citizen and his parents both migrated from Mexico in search of better opportunities. The struggles his parents faced as undocumented workers have influenced his path to working in the community.

He currently is a student at Harold Washington College but hopes to transfer to UIC to pursue education. He is one of the leaders of Fuerza del Sol- Justice Task Force at PNCC. In his free time, he likes to watch documentaries, bike and do photography.