Co-director, Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justica
Roberto de la Riva helped found Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justica (Renters United for Justice), an organization that builds power with tenants through community building and direct action. In his work, de la Riva’s goal is to create a mass movement embedded in power building and transformation in which organizing is a means to build power and education is a means to transform ourselves.
De la Riva started organizing as a student at the University of Wisconsin La-Crosse around 12 years ago, building cultural identity with Latinxs on campus and combining causes with other groups of color against racism and solidarity in Latin America. After college, de la Riva moved to Chicago to work at the Mexico Solidarity Network, where he founded an adult immigrant high school and helped create a powerful multiracial coalition against the foreclosure crisis. In their work protesting major banks in Chicago as people were losing their homes to foreclosure, the organization won many homes back, reframed the national debate on the crisis, and inspired a critically acclaimed play about their work.
De la Riva moved back to Minneapolis to help found Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia in 2014. He was the first to graduate from the Autonomous University of Social Movements with an M.S. in community organizing and popular education.
The majority of poor families in America who are renters spend over half of their income on housing costs, and eviction is upending their lives. Pulitzer Prize-winning sociologist Matthew Desmond’s work points to housing instability as a key cause, not just a symptom, of poverty in the U.S. Given this, all those who seek to address poverty and inequality must learn about and address this crisis. Desmond’s talk will be followed by discussion among a panel of experts will explore the question of what funders can most effectively do to work toward solutions to this problem.