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Roberto Tijerina is a queer Latino of immigrant parents. Until recently he worked for the Highlander Research and Education Center in East Tennessee, where he was the lead person in Highlander's Multilingual Capacity Building program, which provides interpretation, translation, and training services to help Highlander and other social justice organizations work across language to support and build coalitions with immigrant activists and organizations. As part of his work at Highlander, Roberto served as a co-coordinator of the Language Access Team for the 2007 US Social Forum in Atlanta.

Before coming to Highlander, Roberto worked as an activist in the Chicago area for 18 years; his three mainstays being LGBT, immigrant, and disability rights. His experience includes working as an Outreach Associate for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, supporting diverse LGBT communities around civil rights issues. He has also worked as a freelance sign-language interpreter, with a focus on the Deaf Latino community in Illinois. In addition to English, he is fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language. Throughout his activist career, he has maintained close ties to the immigrant community in which he was raised, working on issues of literacy, second-language learning, immigrant discrimination, and preparation for citizenship exams.