Adriana Portillo-Bartow was born in 1953 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Her large family became involved in the leftist resistance against the United States-backed Guatemalan government. On September 11, 1981, Portillo-Bartow’s father, her half-sister, and two of her own daughters were forcibly “disappeared” by the Guatemalan government. Following a number of subsequent threats by the government, Portillo-Bartow received aid from the American Friends Service Committee to flee to Mexico with her abusive husband and two remaining daughters. After being smuggled to Fort Worth, Texas by members of the Sanctuary Movement, Portillo-Bartow’s husband abandoned her and returned to Guatemala. Portillo-Bartow came to Chicago by invitation of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Hyde Park, that agreed to house her in exchange for activist work. Since then, Portillo-Bartow worked to increase awareness of the plight of the Guatemalans and the United States’ backing the totalitarian regime. To that end, she founded, Where Are The Children?, an organization that searched for the disappeared children of Guatemala’s civil war. She was also active with the Kovler Center, an institution in Rogers Park that provides aid and therapy for victims of torture.