April 2, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Names Adolfo Hernandez Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement and Tonantzin Carmona the New Director of the Office of New Americans

Hernandez will Serve as a Direct Link between the Mayor’s Office, City Departments, and Communities; Carmona will Continue the Work to Make Chicago the most Immigrant Friendly City in the Country

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today named Adolfo Hernandez as the Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement. In this role, Hernandez will serve as a direct link between City government – including the Mayor’s Office, City departments, and sister agencies – with external partners and communities across Chicago. The mission of the office is to engage neighborhoods and community leaders with City government, ensuring the resources of government are closely connected to the residents it serves. Hernandez’s appointment follows the recent appointment of Ken Bennett as Deputy Chief of Staff and the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement.

“The Office of Public Engagement is an essential office created to ensure the voices of Chicago residents- our parents, students, small business owners, teachers, clergymen, elected officials, and leaders in our communities – are heard,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “With his experience in my administration, Adolfo Hernandez will strengthen the City’s ability to engage with all communities across Chicago.”

Mayor Emanuel created the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement in June of 2013 to connect City departments directly with the Chicago neighborhoods they serve. The Office of Public Engagement works closely with the Office of New Americans, the Commission on Human Relations, Faith Outreach, Civic Engagement and Service, Chicago Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS), and external and community affairs representatives from City departments and sister agencies.

Hernandez previously served as the Director of the Chicago Office of New Americans. The Office was created by the Mayor to support Chicago’s immigrant communities, help immigrants access City services and start new businesses, and pursue the long-term goal of making Chicago the world’s most immigrant-friendly city.

Hernandez, who is the son of Mexican immigrants and was born and raised in Chicago's Little Village community, has worked to develop and implement policies and strategies that support the creation and expansion of immigrant-owned businesses that develop, attract, and retain talent and expertise from other countries, and that bolster Chicago's status as a vibrant and welcoming international city.

In September of 2013, the White House recognized Adolfo for his work in Chicago as one of ten local heroes who are "Champions of Change" and work tirelessly to effectively integrate immigrants civically, linguistically, and socially into the fabric of their neighborhoods by bringing all residents together to create welcoming communities.

The Mayor also named Tonantzin Carmona as a Deputy Policy Director and the new Director of the Office of New Americans to continue the work to make Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the country through enhanced collaboration between City government, community organizations, academic and faith based institutions, and the private sector.

“With the Office of New Americans, we are supporting Chicago’s immigrant communities, said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “ Tonantzin Carmona’s experience fits in with our focus to support our immigrant community in having access to City services, in starting new businesses, and pursuing the long-term goal of making Chicago the world’s most immigrant-friendly city.”

Carmona has spent the last year and half in the Emanuel Administration working on a wide range of policy issues – including immigrant integration policies, as well as sustainability, public health, and small business initiatives—and has played a leading role in the City-County Collaboration, helping to streamline services, improve residents’ interactions with government, save taxpayer dollars and increase revenue. To date, the City and County have identified $70.9 million in savings or new revenue as part of the Collaboration.

Prior to her work at the Mayor’s Office, Carmona worked with Crimson Leadership Group to create opportunities for underserved communities, and immigrant students and families in Illinois high schools to engage with the college admissions process and leadership development. Carmona also worked at the NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute in a collaborative study between heath scientists and community partners to investigate disparities in maternal and child health among low-income, ethnic-minority and immigrant families.

Carmona is the granddaughter of immigrants and community volunteers and was born and raised in the Little Village community. Carmona earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Northwestern University and currently resides in the Avondale community.