Javier Morillo is a performer, writer, podcaster, activist, and labor leader in Minnesota. He is a noted Twin Cities stage storyteller, winning praise for two successful solo shows and a duo show in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and serving as one of the regular hosts of the local Moth Story Slam.
In his day job, he is the president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26, which unites 8,000 largely immigrant property-service workers in the Twin Cities metro area. Under Morillo’s leadership, the union has doubled in size and has garnered national attention for winning affordable healthcare for janitors and security officers, along with dramatic wage increases.
Morillo is also a sought-after political and electoral strategist, having played critical roles in electing of of the first Muslim to Congress, and the first Latina to the Minnesota State Senate. Beth Hawkins reported How Javier Morillo, a former academic, became the most talked-about political operative in the Twin Cities for MinnPost, while the Star Tribune’s Adam Belz helped readers Meet the ‘thug in pastels’ who is reshaping Minneapolis politics.
As an artist, Morillo was a featured storyteller in a Moth Mainstage production in 2013 and is a repeat winner of the Twin Cities Moth Story Slam. His Moth Mainstage story “Handcuffed in Houston” was later part of a Minnesota Fringe Festival show called “Louder than Words: Tales of Extreme Action,” named one of the “Top 10 Fringe Newbies” of 2014. In his 2015 Fringe show “Pam+Javi=Forever,” Morillo won strong notices by joining forces with local storyteller and award-winning filmmaker Pam Colby.His 2016 Fringe solo show, “Broken English, Mother Tongue,” was well received by critics and audiences alike and was awarded an encore performance. Morillo’s 2017 Fringe solo show, “A Resister’s Handbook (for holding onto optimism in shitty times)” was one of the festival’s top-grossing shows by venue size. His story “Ricardo” was featured in an episode of The Moth Radio Hour that aired on National Public Radio in January 2018.
Morillo is the creator and co-host of the podcast “Wrong About Everything,” an irreverent, bipartisan take on Minnesota and national politics that recently recorded its 200th episode: every week, the show dishes up political analysis from people who disagree on just about everything but still manage to getalong. Morillo also appears regularly on Minnesota political talk shows as a progressive commentator.
In a prior career, Morillo was a historian, anthropologist, and college professor. He lives in Saint Paul with his spouse John, their 18-year-old pitbull Diego, and blues-loving cat Stevie.