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Political Education

The path forward from la nueva capitana

March 18, 2021

Dear Siembra NC Familia, 

I am writing with the exciting news that six weeks ago, I took the reins as Siembra NC’s new Executive Director. Although I am not new to the team, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit of my own story and lay down the path of where I see Siembra NC going from here onto the future.

North Carolina has been my home since I arrived to the US from Nicaragua fifteen years ago. As a queer Latina from a working class and mixed-status family in the South, learning to organize was crucial for my and my family’s survival. This became so clear to me in 2010 when Republicans in the NC General Assembly and US Congress put targets on our backs beginning this dark period of increased criminalization of Latinx and immigrant communities. Because of this, I became involved in advocacy and coalition efforts across the state, to end the conditions my loved ones and I lived under.

At the time, “advocacy” meant  immigrants telling their stories to appeal to the empathy of Republican legislators -- the people passing anti-immigrant laws like HB 318. They didn’t care about our stories. It became apparent that for them to begin caring, the way they perceived our power would have to change. After years of lobbying and protests, my biggest lesson learned is that we need power to win.

Power comes from neighborhoods, from workers at the workplace, from creating your own solutions instead of begging people to sympathize with you. Real power comes from finding enough of our people to hold those making decisions that are harming us accountable.

So how do we do that? How do we build power? Through organizing. It is clear to me that even if we register every Latinx person in the state and get them out to vote, our gente will continue to be taken advantage of, unless we make real investment in deep organizing that changes our political reality. If we do that, we will put a stop to criminalization, wage theft, unsafe working conditions, discrimination at schools and abuses from greedy landlords who choose profit over tenants. That’s the path we’re on. That’s our North Star.

My commitment to our Siembra NC fam and our members is to co-lead the process of defining the North Carolina that working-class Latinxs want, neighborhood by neighborhood, workplace by workplace until those who want to keep us down don’t have an option but to do what's right for our communities.

I am humbled to lead the team that I wish my younger self had to find my true power. We’re doing this so none of us has to stand alone and so we can have a political home that will see us, love us and where we can build the North Carolina that our communities deserve.

En la lucha,

Kelly Morales