The Citizen Advocacy Center has been a community resource in DuPage County for the past 19 years. The Elmhurst-based organization is now considering expanding its reach. Longtime executive director Terry Pastika is stepping down from her current role … to work on a strategic plan that could involve opening satellite Citizen Advocacy Centers. Attorney Maryam Judar will be the non-profit’s new executive director. She wants continue to advocate for policy changes and engage young residents. WDCB News Reporter Gary Zidek spoke with Pastika about where Citizen Advocacy Center has been … and where it’s going.
Listen to WDCB Interview here.
Elmhurst – The Citizen Advocacy Center (Center) is proud to announce that its current community lawyer, Maryam Judar (left), has been promoted to executive director. Maryam Judar has been a Center community lawyer for four years and has empowered dozens of individuals and community groups to use various laws and civic skills to advocate for greater accountability of government entities. Most recently, Ms. Judar investigated and reported on how the decentralized nature of local electoral boards causes systemic barriers to voter access to the ballot and suppresses voter choice.
Ms. Judar will take the Center’s helm as the current director/community lawyer Ms. Terry Pastika steps down to move to the west coast. “The Citizen Advocacy Center is the most dynamic community based legal organization in the state. I am tremendously proud of the Center’s growth, of the privilege to have worked with hundreds of dynamic individuals who are notable community advocates; and to welcome Maryam as the new Executive Director.”
“Maryam has a deep commitment to the Center’s mission and has done impressive work with our constituent base. She has excelled on recent projects including civic education, census/redistricting, accountability of non-profit economic development corporations, and election reform. She is going to be a fantastic leader for the Center,” said Ms. Terry Pastika.
“Next year the Center will celebrate its 20th Anniversary,” said Center founder and current board president, Theresa Amato. The organization has thrived with vibrant local support and has become a valued community legal institution. We have achieved that success because of the dedicated community lawyers, staff, supporters, volunteers, and student interns who believe in the Center’s mission. The Board of Directors is proud of Maryam’s service as a community lawyer and looks forward to her carrying on the tradition of strong leadership and advocacy.”
“The Board also thanks Terry Pastika for her incredible dedication and service first as a community lawyer since 1999 and also as an indefatigable executive director since 2001. Her forceful commitment to advancing justice and her award-winning advocacy on behalf of the citizenry has been integral to the Center’s work and growth. We look forward to her joining the Board of Directors to serve the Center in a new capacity,” Amato said.
The Center is a community lawyering organization founded in 1994, with the mission of building democracy for the 21st century by strengthening the citizenry’s capacities, resources, and institutions for self-governance. The focus of the Center is on educating, training, and providing resources to the public, public officials, journalists, and educators in the various laws and civic skills that address systemic deficiencies in government affairs; monitoring government entities for abuse of power; taking action to deter anti-democratic activity; and seeking access to justice through education, advocacy, and litigation.
The Center will welcome Maryam Judar and celebrate the service of Terry Pastika at our annual “Summer Intern and Democracy Night” to be held late in July. For details, please contact the Center at 630-833-4080 or visit www.citizenadvocacycenter.org