Brito seeks to combine her work experience with the tools she gains from her Harris MPP to address immigration policy.
Headshot of Linda Brito
Linda Brito

Linda Flor Brito’s goals are deeply rooted in her community and family—their past struggles, present injustices, and future opportunities. The daughter of undocumented immigrants, Brito knew from a young age that activism would be central to who she is. “My dad was very involved in protests and advocacy in Ecuador, and he always talked about the importance of community and fighting for people’s rights. My mom was involved in immigration rights and advocacy. It felt natural to follow in their footsteps.”

Brito earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in immigrant and refugee studies at DePaul University. Following graduation, she worked as a program associate for the Unaccompanied Children’s program with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). There, she examined how to support unaccompanied children who were forcefully displaced from their home countries with legal support and social services post-release. She also co-authored a research and advocacy paper explaining how those services should be expanded.

Brito was subsequently promoted to a program officer for refugee protection and resettlement, where she worked to build a sense of community and ensure refugees didn’t feel isolated. “My job focused on figuring out how to change the current process in order to incorporate community building practicies and expand services beyond the basic three-month resettlement process. While a lot of the work had a strong project management focus, I also came to recognize that policy is often not created by communities or by people with lived experience, but instead through a very removed, bureaucratic process,” she said.

Following her time with the USCRI, Brito took a position as policy director for Migrant Roots Media, where she works on analyzing the root causes of forced migration to amplify and center the voices of migrants and the children of migrants. “When we think about supporting our communities, it looks different for different people. Migrant Roots Media does it through storytelling and contextualizing the systemic forces that play a part in displacing communities. Now I'm pursuing my master's degree to further develop my more analytical side and combine that with my experiences to better serve my community."

Brito’s work experience also led her to see the value of earning a master’s degree. “As someone who has been a community organizer, I wanted to get a master’s in public policy because I recognized it’s imperative for historically disenfranchised communities to have a voice in policy.”

Growing up in Chicago, Brito said the University of Chicago had always been on her radar. “After doing some research, Harris seemed like the perfect fit. From what I’d experienced throughout my application process and heard from other students, there are lots of opportunities at Harris to create space for people who look like me.”

 After completing her Master of Public Policy at Harris, Brito looks to dive fully into immigration policy, perhaps as a policy director at an abolitionist organization or by founding her own organization with a particular focus on ensuring organizers’ voices are heard in policy creation. “I really want to be able to amplify the voices of my community,” she said. “We are the best advocates for our own conditions.”