Co-Founder & Executive Director
Robert Torres, a proud Puerto Rican was born and raised in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. After spending most of his career in the stock market, he decided he wanted a more meaningful career that helped to improve the city and neighborhoods he grew up in. He founded his own drug testing company called AccuQuest drug test in 2009 and has been successful since. In 2012, he met Elizabeth Ramirez. Elizabeth Ramirez lost her only son to gun violence and was struggling with the pain of losing a child.
Robert was touched by her story and passion to create change. Together, they
formed Parents for Peace and Justice, an organization dedicated to supporting
family and friends of victims of gun violence. Parents for Peace and Justice is
comprised of volunteers who fight for peace and justice to ensure a better and
safe future for all youth of Chicago. Most recently, he was elected to join the
board of the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations, an
organization dedicated to ensuring equity and opportunities to impact
communities throughout Illinois. His mission in life is to decrease street violence
by uplifting communities through prayer and by increasing access to youth
programs and employment opportunities/resources. Robert is married to Lisette
Torres and is raising his two daughters on the Northwest side of Chicago.
Pastor Ruben, a former gang member turned minister, was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the Puerto Rican neighborhood of Humboldt Park, Chicago when he was 4 years old. He didn't think he would make it past 18 growing up in the city, but he found hope with God and is now raising a family in the neighborhood he grew up in. Pastor Ruben's motivation for peace and justice comes from his experience living the street life and wanting to see better for his community. His brother, a musician, was shot in the head years ago resulting in hearing loss and the ability to function like he once used to. Pastor Ruben is tired of the constant grim news and is bringing love, prayer, and hope to our communities. Pastor Ruben often leads our prayer vigils for victims of gun violence. We welcome you to join us at our next vigil to hear his powerful voice and words or inspiration.
Pastor Ruben Escobar Pepin
Community Relationship Manager
Elizabeth's motivation for starting Parents for Peace and Justice comes from her own personal story. In October, 2011, her 23 year old son, Harry "Deejay" Rodriguez, was at his own birthday party on Chicago's Northwest side when a masked gunman walked in and started shooting. He lost his life that night and years later the case remains unsolved. Elizabeth wants peace on our streets so children can play outside in safety. Her goal for the organization is to have a private investigator help with the unsolved cases of other parents she supports who have also lost children to gun violence.
Sports Youth Program Director
Coach Angel Lopez was born and raised in Chicago. He started his coaching career at Weber High School and has worked for various universities as a college football coach. He then transitioned to a NFL minority coaching program becoming the first Puerto Rican in the program. Coach Lopez is currently the Latino Community Liaison for the NFL Alumni Chicago working closely with Desmond Clark, the former All-Pro Tight End of the Chicago Bears who is president of the Chicago NFL Alumni. Coach Lopez is working hard to bring more youth flag football camps to communities in need of programming in order to keep youth off the streets.