Centro Autónomo

The Albany Park Autonomous Center (APAC), or Centro Autónomo, is located in Albany Park, Chicago, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country.  APAC opened its doors in September of 2006 in hopes of creating a space that constructs horizontal relationships, political consciousness, and unites people in and around the Latino immigrant struggle.   

So what is the Centro Autónomo?

This is a community center in every sense of the word.  It is not a place where one comes to receive services, but a place where one can meet their neighbors, share stories and dreams and create community-driven projects for empowerment.  In this time of free trade regimes that demolish economies and extreme anti-immigrant sentiment, this space serves as a place to reconstruct the collectivity which the current economic system is very efficient at destroying. 

The foundation of this practice of community-building is rooted in monthly asambleas and weekly meetings with different committees established by community members.  When the center opened, English classes were set by the community as a main priority, and they began with 5 students taking classes three days a week. With these five students word of mouth spread through Albany Park and classes slowly filled.  Now fifty to eighty people participate in popular education-based ESL classes at the Centro.

Through decisions made in asambleas the Centro Autónomo has initiated many other programs.  In addition to ESL, there are dance, computer, and yoga classes as well as an alternative medicine clinic.  A diploma-granting bilingual adult high school began in September of 2010. 

Aside from programming, other forms of organization have also flourished such as an all-woman’s cleaning cooperative and a cooking cooperative.  If you would like more information, please call our office number at 773-583-7728, or direct yourself to the specified tabs.

Ideological Statement

En el Centro Autónomo unimos nuestra fuerza con mujeres, hombres, jóvenes, nin@s y vecin@s con los cuales compartimos esperanzas, sueños, ideas, donde en forma de Caracol dialogamos, desaprendemos y nos reconocemos con gente que viene desde abajo. Caminando de forma circular seguimos buscando espacios donde nuestras voces sean escuchadas. Queda entonces este espacio como un referente para dialogar, comunicarnos, respetarnos, solidarízanos y enlazar resistencias.

At the Autonomous Center we unite our strength with women, men, young people, children and neighbors, with whom we share hopes, dreams, and ideas.  Using the conch as a model we dialogue, learn and relearn as we identify ourselves with people who come 'from below'. Proceeding in circular form we continue to explore spaces where our voices can be heard.  Using this space as a springboard for dialogue, communication, and to respect amongst one another we support and link popular resistance.

Calling all volunteers!!

MSN is looking for volunteers to provide an 8 week commitment to facilitate popular education based ESL classes for adults in the Autonomous Center.

ESL tutor training will be provided.

ESL classes run in for 6-8 week cycles.

The more volunteers we get, the smaller the class size, making the students' limited time more productive.

Please email us at MSN [at] MexicoSolidarity [dot] com if you're interested.


Autonomous Center/Centro Autónomo
Phone: 773.583.7728
Email: MSN [at] MexicoSolidarity [dot] com