UNO, Gamaliel Founder Set to Retire

Greg Galluzzo may not ‘ring a bell’ with some, but in the world of activists, also known as organizers, he is a famed leader of more than 1 million people in 17 U.S. cities, South Africa and the United Kingdom. He has founded Chicago based organizations that include UNO and Gamaliel.

Once a Jesuit priest, Galluzzo came to Chicago in 1972. “I remember ol’ man Daley,” he says with affection. “Richard J. Daley told me he wanted to help the Mexicans in South Chicago because soon they will be voters.” Galluzzo was in the midst of organizing the community which wanted to open the first Mexican-American elementary school due to severe overcrowding at other area schools. The school is Los Ninos Heroes and is dedicated to the memory of the Heroic Cadets who died defending Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle from invading U.S. forces during the Mexican-American War.

Galluzzo has worked to organize and rally the people in Pilsen to open Benito Juarez High School as well as turn park district property back “to the people.” This site is now home of the largest Mexican museum in the United States called the National Museum of Mexican Art. Galluzzo humbly shares credit with the community and his wife Mary. “They were using it to build expensive boats and that wasn’t helping anyone in the neighborhood.”
Galluzzo helped the community build the first health clinic in South Chicago, which is still standing today at 106th and Torrence in the oldest Mexican American community in Chicago. “The people had nothing and after the steel mills closed, they needed a clinic because workers no longer had any healthcare.”

Galluzzo is the founder of United Neighborhood Organization or UNO. Here, he mentored a young Danny Solis, now an influential Chicago Alderman, to take the helm and lead UNO which is still in existence today and mentors future Hispanic leaders through its MLI program. A program that is modeled after many leadership programs created by Galluzzo and replicated around the country.

Galluzzo is also the founder of Fiesta del Sol, one of the largest festivals in the country which attracts more than one million people annually and now funds Pilsen Neighbors, another non-for-profit. The group, Pilsen Neighbors, is instrumental to bringing new institutions and capital improvements to the neighborhood as well as a clearing house for other social services that enrich the mostly Mexican heritage community.” Galluzzo has worked to organize and rally people all over the country to fight for:
Criminal Justice Reform
Civil Rights for Immigrants
Jobs and more.

In honor of all the community work accomplished by Greg Galluzzo, a scholarship fund will be launched in his honor called GOLD or Galluzzo Organizers and Leaders Development fund. The public is invited to this inaugural scholarship fundraiser event on Thursday, June 20 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, 1852 W. 19th Street, Chicago, Illinois.

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