Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an immigrant from Mexico, who’s been living here for 27 years. I’ve seen so much injustice around and I’ve always wanted to do something different than what I do, something that makes me happy about living in this world, and finally I got into this organization that is fighting for justice and to inform communities of color about our rights and what we can do to improve our living here. You know, I started as a member and I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to be an organizer because I want to make a change, not just by moving a couple people — I want to move a lot of people so we can create that vision I have of a place where everyone is treated equally and is not distinguished by your race, color, or religion.
What will you be doing?
A lot of one-on-ones, talking to people, knocking on doors, trying to get a lot of people involved and convincing them that we need to work together to create that power to win change. I’m going to be continuing the work I did as a member. I knocked on doors, recruited members, and talked to people about their rights because a lot of people don’t know what their rights are — I didn’t even know what they were. I MC’ed at events, planned and facilitated meetings and trainings, and created a leadership team.
For those who aren’t that familiar with organizing – what are one-on-ones and what is their purpose?
It’s a conversation to get to know what someone’s self-interest is, what motivates and fires them, what makes them move. The purpose of it is to create a good relationship with them because when you don’t know someone, you don’t trust them, and you won’t fight for them. The purpose is to connect you two to fight for your rights.
Why are you doing this work?
I do this because it makes me feel good, it makes me feel complete, it makes me feel happy…. It makes me feel happy that I can help first myself and then the people around me. But I also do this because I felt such injustice when I came here. I was treated like a second-class human. It made me feel angry and sadness and a lot of emotions that lit a fire inside of me, that’s why I decided I needed to fight.
What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me. When I see a lot of people in forums, I get inspired. When I see new members, I get inspired. When I go to marches and I see little kids holding signs, that inspires me. Things like that inspire me all the time – seeing that there are people like me who also believe that we can win change.
What is your vision? What are you fighting for?
I’m fighting to create a world where people are not afraid to get in a car and drive for lack of a driver’s license, where people are not afraid that there will not be a meal on their table or a roof over their head for lack of money, where people are not afraid to be imprisoned for the color of their skin — a place where people live with freedom, justice, and equality. The fight does not stop when we win driver’s licenses. We have to change the system.