Chicago, IL – Griselda Vega Samuel, an attorney whose specialties have included working with low-income clients and advocating on behalf of human trafficking victims, has joined MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) as its new Midwest Regional Counsel, leading its Chicago office.
A Chicago native, Griselda is responsible for overseeing daily operations and helping to set the litigation and public policy advocacy priorities for MALDEF’s Midwest regional office, which is headquartered in Chicago and covers Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
“MALDEF welcomes Griselda Vega Samuel at a most challenging time for Latino civil rights in the United States, with a presidential administration characterized by barely-veiled hostility toward the growing Latino community,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “Her extensive and varied experience in civil rights, coupled with her career-long commitment to progressive public interest law, make her the exact right leader for our Chicago office today.”
Griselda joins MALDEF from Safe Horizon, where she was senior director of its Anti-Trafficking Program, the largest comprehensive service provider to survivors of human trafficking on the East Coast. Her legislative work includes being a member of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), as well as policy co-chair of the Freedom Network, a national coalition of more than 40 anti-trafficking service organizations and advocates.
Previously, Griselda worked at Global Workers Justice Alliance (GWJA) in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she identified, recruited, trained, and evaluated human rights organizations in Mexico for GWJA’s Defender Network, to properly serve the legal needs of their local migrant communities. Early in her legal career, she worked for Columbia Legal Services in Washington State, where she represented farmworkers in employment, civil rights, and class-action litigation, and worked to uphold consumer rights. She also worked for the Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago, representing clients in family law, housing, and employment matters.
Griselda earned her undergraduate degree from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, IA, and her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. Her family hails from Celeya, Guanajuato, Mexico.
“As a child of Mexican immigrants, I know that the mission of MALDEF is as important as it was 50 years ago,” she said. “It is my privilege to return home to continue to fight and expand our efforts throughout not just Chicago but all of the Midwestern United States. There is still much work to be done.”