Isabel Watkins Rubio
Executive Director, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama
A seasoned nonprofit professional with over 20 years’ experience working with low income communities, particularly immigrant Hispanics, in Alabama, Ms. Rubio is a native of Mississippi and a second generation Mexican American. Born in 1965, she was greatly influenced by the change brought to Mississippi by the Civil Rights Movement. She earned degrees in History (BA – University of Southern Mississippi) and Social Work (BSSW – University of Alabama Birmingham) and worked in the field for 8 years in greater Birmingham when she was moved to found the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (¡HICA!) in 1999. Ms. Rubio has served as Executive Director since 2001.
¡HICA! is a nonprofit organization that integrates, educates and connects Alabama’s Hispanic individuals and families through its educational, leadership, community development, and advocacy work. The organization was the lead plaintiff in the civil rights lawsuit stemming from Alabama’s passage of HB56, the harshest immigration law in the nation.
¡HICA! has engaged thousands of Hispanics across Alabama to increase opportunities and, as the only Latino serving organization in Alabama, is a bridge builder with many local, regional and national organizations. ¡HICA! has an annual budget over$1.6 million dollars, is a partner with the United Way of Central Alabama and affiliates of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, National Council of La Raza, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
Ms. Rubio is deeply involved in her community and serves on boards locally, regionally and nationally including Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Alabama Business Charitable Trust, Regions Financial Corporation Diversity Council, LiftFund CDFI Advisory Board, and ASISTA. Ms. Rubio is a nationally recognized public speaker on the issue of New Americans in the South.
Ms. Rubio is an avid gardener and equestrian and is married to Freddy Rubio. They have two adult daughters, Amanda and Sofia, lots of cats and a horse.