Political Education

A new captain for the team

Dear Siembra NC Family,

I’ve got exciting news. After four years of leading Siembra NC, earlier this month I handed the reins to Kelly Morales as our new executive director.

When we started Siembra, it was in response to the Trump Administration’s stepped up war on immigrants, and the absence of Latinx basebuilding infrastructure. Over the years many Latinx advocates have fought deportations and anti-immigrant laws, and even infiltrated detention centers. But we knew if we were going to change the state, we would need to activate thousands of Latinxs in that fight. We would need to cultivate self-defense committees run by people vulnerable to detention. That’s basebuilding.

I’m proud to say: we did it. More Latinxs have joined Siembra as active members in our committees across the state than we could have imagined possible when we began four years ago. For most, Siembra is their first “political home”. The first time they attended a march or canvassed a neighborhood. Their first time learning with a group about the history of anti-immigrant and anti-Black laws still on the books.

We’re following in the footsteps of others who have paved our lineage of Southern basebuilding. We have been mentored by our friends at the Georgia Alliance for Human Rights, and we've been fortunate to throw down with our compas at Mijente, who have created a national casita that has enabled Latinxs across the country to build together.

We've learned and struggled alongside Black organizers in Burlington, Durham, Winston-Salem and Greensboro who have shown up in solidarity with workers denied their wages and with whom we've worked side by side to hold sheriffs accountable. We’re committed to continuing to build a Latinx “flank” to the work they have been leading for generations in our state.

Dozens of active Siembra members are at the core of that work, putting in time to recruit and onboard new contacts and focus our outreach and campaigns in response to conditions on the ground in each county. But it would not have been possible to have member Comités across over 130 miles of I-40 and I-85 without our tireless staff holding it all together -- making sure each Comité develops realistic plans, plugging in new members to doorknock in specific neighborhoods, conducting intakes with countless workers and tenants in recent weeks who want to know how to defend their rights.

And to make it possible to train and mentor even more members in the craft of basebuilding, three of our staff have taken on new responsibilities over the last three months. Please join me in congratulating Senior Field Organizer Laura Garduño Garcia, Organizing Director Juan Miranda and Executive Director Kelly Morales.

Although I'm leaving my role, I'm excited to continue pitching in whenever I can. At Siembra, we think about our team “on the field” who are often more visible or have more responsibility -- our "starting lineup" -- and the players we have “on the bench”, cheering on the others, or coaching, or available to “sub in” when needed. I’m thrilled to be available to play a “bench” role for the staff team, joining Core Team alumni like Nikki Marín Baena.

Kelly will have more to say about her new role soon. I'm grateful she agreed to take the reins, after making crucial contributions over the years, from helping establish our defense hotline, to supporting Juana Tobar Ortega as she resisted ICE's efforts to deport her, to just in the past year leading several of our member and staff teams. We're in good hands with her at the helm.

Thank you all,

-- Andrew

PS - Join me in making an investment to the long-term strength of this organization, and in supporting Kelly's leadership. I became a monthly sustainer today, and you can too.