Board of Directors

Liza Ann Acosta
This Boricua migrated to study Literature, History and Chemistry in the South. After completing her Master’s in Literature, she read a thousand and one plays to earn her PhD in Comparative Literature at Penn State.  Her dissertation explored the use of ritual in women’s drama, focusing on the work of individual artists and collectives. She teaches courses in Race, Gender, and Postcolonial Literature as well as Writing Creative Nonfiction at North Park University where she is also University Dean. She became an Ensemble Member of Teatro Luna, Chicago’s All Latina Theater Company in 2010.  She loves coffee, chocolate, monks and the Three Kings.

Charlie Billups

Board President

Charlie Billups was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved to Chicago in the early 90’s. Since then he has been working as a healthcare services executive, community activist and a published photojournalist, documenting the cultural aspects of the Puerto Rican and Latin American diaspora in Chicago. He loves living with his family [Lorena (wife), Sarah and Pachi (kids)] in Humboldt Park. Charlie Billups has been serving as president of the board since 2016.

Maritza Nazario

Maritza Nazario came to Chicago from Puerto Rico 30 years ago and since then she has been busy working in the field of performing arts. Her experience includes teaching, writing, acting, and directing theater and leading various artistic programs. She currently serves as the Executive Director and Acting instructor of En Las Tablas Performing Arts, a not-for-profit, performing arts community organization in Chicago, which she co-founded 10 years ago. Maritza earned a Bachelor’s Degree at University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s Degree at University of Illinois, both degrees are in Theater. Maritza has deep passion for working with children and adults in the community, helping them to develop their “untapped” talent.   

Edoardo Ortiz
Edoardo Ortiz was born in San Juan, raised in Bayamón and moved to Chicago in 2017 to pursue graduate studies at the University of Chicago. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at the Harris School of Public Policy. With experience in both the private and public spheres, Edoardo, through his studies and community work, seeks to bridge the gap between community needs and evidence-based policy initiatives. He has 1 year left in his master’s program and is currently working on publishing Puerto Rico focused research and helping bring young Puerto Ricans together through his work in the leadership of the National Puerto Rican Student Coalition.

Brenda Torres-Figueroa

Brenda Torres-Figueroa (Fajardo PR, 1976) is an Interdisciplinary artist, educator and curator living in Chicago since year 2000. Graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA 04) and University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras (BA 00)- Brenda currently teaches Integrated Arts at the Chicago High School of the Arts and has worked as curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico (MAC) and has coordinated of Barrio Arts Fest (2010-2013) among other exhibitions at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. She has composed and published several curatorial essays for individual artists and museums including artists such as Rafael Trelles, Victor Vázquez and Norah Hernandez.  In 2014 co-Founded and became the creative director of Freedom Effect LLC. In 2015 was featured in the Chicago Artist Month with the video project of Candela co-produced in collaboration with Bomba con Buya.  

Additional Board Members:

James Ramos

Brenda Delgado