LULAC Virtual Summit 2021

Carlos Luna, Chairman, LULAC National Subcommittee on Deported Veterans

Carlos Luna

Mr. Luna serves as Chairman of LULAC's National Subcommittee on Deported Veterans spearheading initiatives affecting Green Card Service Members and Deported Veterans. Mr. Luna is a Veteran of the United States Navy. As an Aviation Electronics Technician he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF/OIF); responsible for the maintenance and calibration of a wide array of electronic warfare systems on the F/A-18F that provided much needed air and ground support.

He is an immigrant veteran raised in the blue-collar community of South Chicago. After his military service he returned to Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, DePaul University, and a Master of Arts degree in Community Psychology, DePaul University. He worked with youth ages 5-19 suffering from a myriad of developmental disorders (e.g., Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, etc.) and mental health conditions (e.g., Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Substance Use/Abuse, Eating disorders, etc.). Under the supervision of Qualified Mental Health Professionals, he collaborated with clients and their parents/legal guardians to develop and implement individualized treatment plans to accomplish goals set during Mental Health Assessments; worked with institutions (e.g. hospitals, clients’ schools, church, etc.) to coordinate efforts and maximize clients’ chances of success.

In 2017, he founded the only restorative justice program dedicated to serving veterans detained at the Cook County Jail. He and his veteran Peer Support Specialists conduct peace circles with more than 100 veterans per month; helping process and cope with their circumstances by identifying problems in their lives and access to the professional services required to overcome them. He recruited a multidisciplinary team of professionals, including the Red Cross of Chicago, to conduct workshops, provide toiletries for veterans entering the jail, and access to resources their families could use during and after the veterans’ incarceration. He became certified as a Veteran Service Officer (VSO) through the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers (NACVSO) and, as a Fellow for The Mission Continues, empowered veterans through the creation of community events.

In 2018, he worked as Director of Policy Development for Illinois Joining Forces, the only statewide program in Illinois for service members, veterans, and their families. He applied for and received more than $300K in grants to support the innovative approach to veteran services he and his team developed and implemented. He completed The Chicago Management Institute (CMI), an executive management certificate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 2018.

He co-founded LULAC Council #5310: Green Card Veterans to fight against the deportation of American veterans. He collaborated with other community leaders to successfully lobby Chicago City Council, Cook County Commissioners, and Illinois State Legislators to pass resolutions (at each level of government) urging the federal government to act on behalf of deported veterans. He has worked closely with Congressional leaders including Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL), Congressmen Chuy Garcia (IL) and Mark Takano (CA) on the topic of Deported Veterans, helping to inform proposed legislation in the US House and Senate; as well as to stop the deportation of veterans and to repatriate several deported veterans including Green Card Veteran's founding member Miguel Perez, Jr.


Panel Information

Friday, September 3

4:35 PM EST

Highlight-Latino Patriots: Latinos Serving our Country through Military Service

Latino women and men have a long and proud history of distinguished service to our country. However, the service of our military members is often overlooked and marred with tragedy. As the rate of Latinos enlisting in our armed services continues to grow, we must ensure our service members are safe and treated with the respect they deserve. This conversation will interrogate these tough issues as well as inform advocates of policy solutions and ways they can give back to our Latino veterans and service members.

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