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Leonardo Vilchis

Leonardo Vilchis has been organizing tenants in Boyle Heights for more than thirty years. Trained in liberation theology, he co-founded Union de Vecinos in 1996 to stop the demolition of the Pico Aliso public housing projects, winning the right of return for two hundred and fifty families. In 2015, he co-founded the L.A. Tenants Union to organize tenant power at a citywide scale. Merging with LATU in 2019 to form the Union de Vecinos Eastside Local, Union de Vecinos has maintained a leadership role defending the long-term community against gentrification and displacement. Vilchis was activist-in-residence at the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy in 2020 and now serves on the advisory board of its Housing the Third Reconstruction research endeavor. He lives in Los Angeles.