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Hairo Cortes

Executive Director

Hairo Cortes is the founder and Executive Director of Chispa. Originally from Guerrero, Mexico, he is an immigrant rights organizer at heart who has led local, statewide, and national campaigns against deportations and immigrant detention.

He is a published columnist and opinion writer, having gotten his start in publishing op-eds during his work with the #Not1More Deportation Campaign. From there he went on to co-found the Undocu-Column with Gustavo Arellano, a weekly column partnership between Orange County Immigrant Youth United and the OC Weekly, that evolved into the Deport This! Column in 2019 when Chispa joined the collaborative.

As a youth leader in the national #Not1More Deportation Campaign, he gained an appreciation for digital communications and direct action as core strategies in organizing.

He is a founding member of Mijente, a 2017 alumni of ReFrame Mentorship, sat on the Steering Committee of the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance from 2013 to 2015, and is a current Executive Committee member of the Orange County Opportunity Initiative.

On his personal time, he is an avid news reader and coffee drinker. You can find him spending his free time cooking, playing with his cats, and making playlists.

Published In: OC Weekly, Voice of OC, Univision, Latino Rebels, Truthout, Chispa
Quoted In: LA Times, Politico, Washington Post, The Economist, BuzzFeed, OC Weekly, Voice of OC, La Opinion, OC Register, The Nation, Remezcla, KPCC, Fusion

Hairo's Blog Posts