The late IAM Western Territory Grand Lodge Representative Maria Santiago Lillis was a tireless mentor and fierce advocate for workers’ rights, human rights, and social justice, tackling the most contentious issues with grace while treating everyone with dignity and respect.

In order to continue her mentorship and legacy and to encourage all representatives to emulate the extraordinary qualities she exhibited as an IAM representative, the IAM Executive Council has instituted the “Maria Santiago Lillis Advocacy Day – A Commitment to Serve (ACTS).” ACTS takes place each year on August 10, which was Sister Lillis’ birthday. Each year on this day, we will engage in activities to strengthen our commitment to serve and to learn from Representatives who mirror Sister Lillis’ dedication, advocacy, compassion, and fairness. 

WATCH: Maria Santiago Lillis Advocacy Day

This year on August 10, we will honor Maria’s commitment to serving by implementing a Day of Action and Community Service. The goal on this day is for IAM lodges to take action in their communities through service.

Many local lodge women and human rights committees are very involved in community service. Some examples include:

  • Adopting a park or beach to clean and beautify
  • Volunteering at veterans’ homes
  • Having a school supply drive to donate backpacks and school supplies for local school children
  • Donating toys to local children’s hospitals
  • Donating needed supplies for women’s shelters
  • Donations to local food banks
  • Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity
  • Setting up an event to raise money for the IAM’s own Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines.

Pick a service and act of kindness that would best suit your community and take action!  After your local Day of Action, make sure to share your stories and pictures with IAM Women’s and Human Rights Director Julie Frietchen at We want to share your community day of action with all of our union family. Let’s make this a memorable event to honor a memorable IAM Sister.

“Everyone knew that Maria was a champion of justice and fair play – all you had to do was talk to her for a few minutes, and you felt her love and support,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “Her mentoring never stopped. She touched so many, and we will always keep her memory alive through a call to service.” 

READ: In Maria’s Honor

“The goal of this day will be to highlight the qualities that made Sister Lillis an outstanding advocate for working families and her commitment to serve,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Her work has left an indelible mark on the labor movement, and we need to carry her torch with the same compassion and dedication in her name.”

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