Today would have been my dad’s 81st birthday. The holidays were always a hard time of year for us. My dad had to convince my brother and I that love and family were more important than presents. While our friends showed off their new toys, we were trained to show off how much my dad loved us. The funny thing is, it worked. Even as a 10 year old, I saw how love, people, and our shared responsibility to each other, are the most important things in the world.
I’m writing this at the end of my first week as CEO and President at Liberty Hill, one of the nation’s leading social justice foundations. Over these five days, one of the things that has struck me most powerfully is the extraordinary people who call Liberty Hill home: community leaders with courage and strategic smarts second to none and donor activists with a commitment to building power from the grassroots up.
Earlier this week I attended a HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Empowerment) event celebrating my former colleague Ana Guerrero, who as Mayor Garcetti’s Chief of Staff, is the nation’s first Latina big city mayoral chief of staff. It reminded me how often L.A. plays a “first-in-the-nation” role. It also reminded me that a decade ago, Liberty Hill began to turn our attention to combining grassroots hustle and electoral muscle. This year we saw a significant number of legislative and policy wins. It’s an incredibly impressive list of legislative victories and proof that the seeds we planted in 2004 are bearing fruit!
I’m eager for all of us to get busy in 2014. I’ve got my eye on a couple of developments.
- Our Brothers Sons Selves campaign will be looking to implement our victories on school discipline in the L.A. and Long Beach school districts this year.
- We hope to see progress on immigration reform. While those decisions will be made in Washington DC, much of the momentum for that campaign has come from L.A.-based immigrant rights groups working for years to build the political will for comprehensive immigration reform.
- A few days ago, the grants review committee for our Queer Youth Fund, one of Liberty Hill’s largest funds and now in its 11th year, began to discuss the aims of the fund and the 2014 grants to support LGBT young people. QYF has built an incredible legacy of investment and impact. You can see a list of all our blog posts about this remarkable fund here.
This is a time to remember what’s most important! Thank you for your support for Liberty Hill. I look forward to working together.
My wife and I wish you a very happy holiday season! We will be enjoying it with our two boys. Hope you will also be holding close the people who are near and dear to you!