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  Viri Hernandez, Executive Director   I came to the US at the age of one, lived undocumented for 23 years, in fear. The passage of anti-immigrant law SB1070 was a cruel reminder of the reality that my brown, mixed status family was not welcomed. Since then, I’ve organized to provide scholarships, to stop deportations, to elect people into office, to hold those electeds accountable, to pass progressive policy, and to harness our community power. In all the work, I’ve learned a few things; we, people directly impacted by injustice, are inherently the most powerful and capable people to re-imagine a new day;  nothing is possible without a team that is connected in struggle and love; to transform systems, we must also transform as individuals, organizations and in community; our fights might surge out of fear and survival but must be sustained by a vision. As a migrant, young, mujer, I fight to not only survive but for our ability to be free. Today, I have the honor to serve at CNL, where we are led by our experience, knowledge and values to create transformative change towards a day when we are all free.  The Phoenix I dream of sees, respects and invests in our community. It is full of laughter, murals, paleteros, eloteros and children playing. It is love in action.

Viri Hernandez, Executive Director

I came to the US at the age of one, lived undocumented for 23 years, in fear. The passage of anti-immigrant law SB1070 was a cruel reminder of the reality that my brown, mixed status family was not welcomed. Since then, I’ve organized to provide scholarships, to stop deportations, to elect people into office, to hold those electeds accountable, to pass progressive policy, and to harness our community power. In all the work, I’ve learned a few things; we, people directly impacted by injustice, are inherently the most powerful and capable people to re-imagine a new day;  nothing is possible without a team that is connected in struggle and love; to transform systems, we must also transform as individuals, organizations and in community; our fights might surge out of fear and survival but must be sustained by a vision. As a migrant, young, mujer, I fight to not only survive but for our ability to be free. Today, I have the honor to serve at CNL, where we are led by our experience, knowledge and values to create transformative change towards a day when we are all free.

The Phoenix I dream of sees, respects and invests in our community. It is full of laughter, murals, paleteros, eloteros and children playing. It is love in action.

  Berta Hernandez, Caminos Family Organizer   Soy madre indocumentada de 5 hijos. Crucé la frontera en 1992. Las razones fueron pobreza. Durante todos estos años, vivía escondida por miedos de ser vista por mi estatus legal. Mi vida cambio en el 2010 cuando pasó el ley SB1070, y empecé perder el miedo y saber mas cuales eran mis derechos en esta país. Pero en el 2016, yo tomé una decision de hacer una desobediencia civil que me llevo estar en la cárcel. Desde entonces, mi vida y mis pensamientos cambiaron; yo empecé en apoyar en mi misma y aprender más sobre política y sobre que podría hacer y como podría defenderme. No solamente yo sino mi familia y mis barrios. Desde entonces, me involucré hasta llegar a ser una organizadora en Poder en Acción.   Trabajo con un grupo de padres, haciendo foros de conocer tus derechos, preparando paquetes de emergencia, haciendo follas, y haciendo las renovaciones de DACA. Así es como estamos enpoderando la comunidad para interrumpir y desmantelar todos estos sistemas de opresión en que estamos viviendo.   Mis sueños para Phoenix es determinar una vida sin miedos y libre, saludable y sin estrés y depresión de todo que nos pasa como personas indocumentadas. Es poder hacer un cambio en el poder politico. Sueño que nuestros jóvenes que han sufrido todos estos abusos, ocupen su poder para tener igualdad para todos.  

Berta Hernandez, Caminos Family Organizer

Soy madre indocumentada de 5 hijos. Crucé la frontera en 1992. Las razones fueron pobreza. Durante todos estos años, vivía escondida por miedos de ser vista por mi estatus legal. Mi vida cambio en el 2010 cuando pasó el ley SB1070, y empecé perder el miedo y saber mas cuales eran mis derechos en esta país. Pero en el 2016, yo tomé una decision de hacer una desobediencia civil que me llevo estar en la cárcel. Desde entonces, mi vida y mis pensamientos cambiaron; yo empecé en apoyar en mi misma y aprender más sobre política y sobre que podría hacer y como podría defenderme. No solamente yo sino mi familia y mis barrios. Desde entonces, me involucré hasta llegar a ser una organizadora en Poder en Acción. 

Trabajo con un grupo de padres, haciendo foros de conocer tus derechos, preparando paquetes de emergencia, haciendo follas, y haciendo las renovaciones de DACA. Así es como estamos enpoderando la comunidad para interrumpir y desmantelar todos estos sistemas de opresión en que estamos viviendo. 

Mis sueños para Phoenix es determinar una vida sin miedos y libre, saludable y sin estrés y depresión de todo que nos pasa como personas indocumentadas. Es poder hacer un cambio en el poder politico. Sueño que nuestros jóvenes que han sufrido todos estos abusos, ocupen su poder para tener igualdad para todos.  

  Maria Sanchez, Civic Participation Director   Hello everybody!! Thanks for visiting our page and taking time to read this.  My name is Maria. I migrated from Durango, Mexico when I was 7 years old and have been living and loving in Phoenix since. Life changed for me when I gave birth to my son Carlos sophomore year of high school. The same year my son was born, my family was deported to Mexico. I felt the responsibilities of motherhood and knew moving back to Mexico with my family would take opportunities from my son, so I decided to stay behind. Even as an undocumented teen mom in high school struggling to find job and homeless for some time, I was able to survive from the kindness and shelter from my friends.   After graduation, someone told me I needed to stop complaining about the struggles of being undocumented and build power through grassroots organizing and electoral work. I joined Team Awesome, a group of undocumented high school and college student in 2011 and began fighting for my family and my liberation. Even now that I have status, I take the same lessons with me into the future.  My lived experience reminds me that power can be built regardless of age or status.  Today, I organize to harness our collective power through civic engagement.          The Phoenix I dream of has women of color leading, has healthy food options in all neighborhoods and schools and has developed truly efficient technology that will allow us to be more sustainable.

Maria Sanchez, Civic Participation Director

Hello everybody!! Thanks for visiting our page and taking time to read this.

My name is Maria. I migrated from Durango, Mexico when I was 7 years old and have been living and loving in Phoenix since. Life changed for me when I gave birth to my son Carlos sophomore year of high school. The same year my son was born, my family was deported to Mexico. I felt the responsibilities of motherhood and knew moving back to Mexico with my family would take opportunities from my son, so I decided to stay behind. Even as an undocumented teen mom in high school struggling to find job and homeless for some time, I was able to survive from the kindness and shelter from my friends. 

After graduation, someone told me I needed to stop complaining about the struggles of being undocumented and build power through grassroots organizing and electoral work. I joined Team Awesome, a group of undocumented high school and college student in 2011 and began fighting for my family and my liberation. Even now that I have status, I take the same lessons with me into the future.

My lived experience reminds me that power can be built regardless of age or status.  Today, I organize to harness our collective power through civic engagement.        

The Phoenix I dream of has women of color leading, has healthy food options in all neighborhoods and schools and has developed truly efficient technology that will allow us to be more sustainable.

 
  Jennie Hernandez, Ignite High School Organizer   I was brought up in Maryvale, but my real growth began in Buckeye, AZ after my dad’s job got raided by Arpaio here in Phoenix in 2014. My family started struggling financially now that my dad no longer had a job. During that period of time, I had just turned 16 and pregnant. My parents were both very supportive, but from the lack of financial stability, I chose to move out. After getting out of a toxic relationship, I was reintroduced into social justice work where I started doing DACA’s. After a couple of months, I was given the opportunity to join Ignite. I started organizing at Maryvale high school because it was important for us to start engaging students who have always been stereotyped as the “bad kids”, when in reality they were the most impacted. After building a team at Maryvale, we are now going to bring Trevor G. Browne students into the fight.  The Phoenix I dream of is a liberated Phoenix where our youth and our parents can live without fear.

Jennie Hernandez, Ignite High School Organizer

I was brought up in Maryvale, but my real growth began in Buckeye, AZ after my dad’s job got raided by Arpaio here in Phoenix in 2014. My family started struggling financially now that my dad no longer had a job. During that period of time, I had just turned 16 and pregnant. My parents were both very supportive, but from the lack of financial stability, I chose to move out. After getting out of a toxic relationship, I was reintroduced into social justice work where I started doing DACA’s. After a couple of months, I was given the opportunity to join Ignite. I started organizing at Maryvale high school because it was important for us to start engaging students who have always been stereotyped as the “bad kids”, when in reality they were the most impacted. After building a team at Maryvale, we are now going to bring Trevor G. Browne students into the fight.

The Phoenix I dream of is a liberated Phoenix where our youth and our parents can live without fear.

  Yazmin Sagastume, Ignite High School Organizer   My name is Yazmin Yarely Acosta Sagastume and I am a first generation, daughter of two hard working parents that I adore. They are a lot of the reason why I fight and will continue to fight.  I am a high school student currently organizing in North High School and loving it! I want to give youth the same opportunities and experiences organizing gave me. I want to see them also grow as leaders and do things they never imagined themselves doing. Seeing that come true makes this all worth it.

Yazmin Sagastume, Ignite High School Organizer

My name is Yazmin Yarely Acosta Sagastume and I am a first generation, daughter of two hard working parents that I adore. They are a lot of the reason why I fight and will continue to fight.  I am a high school student currently organizing in North High School and loving it! I want to give youth the same opportunities and experiences organizing gave me. I want to see them also grow as leaders and do things they never imagined themselves doing. Seeing that come true makes this all worth it.

  Adrianna Gonzales, RadComms   I am the queer daughter of 2 parents where the Criminal Justice System, Healthcare system, and lack of resources has failed them. I fight because I have seen a lot of unjust things, things that a kid should not see. Seeing actual abuse of power as a young child really messes with your perspective of the world and of authority. I fight because my dad has been beaten by police multiple times for no apparent reason. I fight because the lack of detail in the police handbook led to both of my parents being pepper sprayed, beaten, and the separation of my brother and I from them; it led to so much unnecessary stress and legal problems, as well as 2 adoptions. I fight because we need better resources for our communities, resources that focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.  The Phoenix I dream of does not discriminate, it invests in our communities and divests from things that hurt, steal from, and hunt our communities. It is brown, black, made up of different dialects and different lived experiences.

Adrianna Gonzales, RadComms

I am the queer daughter of 2 parents where the Criminal Justice System, Healthcare system, and lack of resources has failed them. I fight because I have seen a lot of unjust things, things that a kid should not see. Seeing actual abuse of power as a young child really messes with your perspective of the world and of authority. I fight because my dad has been beaten by police multiple times for no apparent reason. I fight because the lack of detail in the police handbook led to both of my parents being pepper sprayed, beaten, and the separation of my brother and I from them; it led to so much unnecessary stress and legal problems, as well as 2 adoptions. I fight because we need better resources for our communities, resources that focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

The Phoenix I dream of does not discriminate, it invests in our communities and divests from things that hurt, steal from, and hunt our communities. It is brown, black, made up of different dialects and different lived experiences.

 
  Parris Wallace, Community College Organizer   Hey! I am Parris Wallace. I am a black queer mother, married to an amazing partner, living in Phoenix, Arizona with our four cats and two kids. I grew up in a small Oklahoma town on a reservation, and moved to Phoenix two days after I graduated high school in 2003.  I got into organizing through the Bazta Arpaio campaign in 2016, where I was a field organizer in the successful electoral effort to oust Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Following this campaign, I began organizing with Black folks in Phoenix through the Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro chapter and the Arizona Black Voter Initiative.    At Poder In Action, I am the Community College Organizer. You can find me on the Phoenix College and Glendale Community College campuses, building leadership and supporting the engagement of the students in social justice advocacy. Working for Poder in Action has opened the door for me to fight for the Phoenix I want and need.  For me a safe and healthy Phoenix is a Phoenix where the leaders invest in the community members and are accountable to us.  I dream of a Phoenix that is inclusive of queer families and has a thriving Black business community.

Parris Wallace, Community College Organizer

Hey! I am Parris Wallace. I am a black queer mother, married to an amazing partner, living in Phoenix, Arizona with our four cats and two kids. I grew up in a small Oklahoma town on a reservation, and moved to Phoenix two days after I graduated high school in 2003.

I got into organizing through the Bazta Arpaio campaign in 2016, where I was a field organizer in the successful electoral effort to oust Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Following this campaign, I began organizing with Black folks in Phoenix through the Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro chapter and the Arizona Black Voter Initiative.  

At Poder In Action, I am the Community College Organizer. You can find me on the Phoenix College and Glendale Community College campuses, building leadership and supporting the engagement of the students in social justice advocacy. Working for Poder in Action has opened the door for me to fight for the Phoenix I want and need.  For me a safe and healthy Phoenix is a Phoenix where the leaders invest in the community members and are accountable to us.

I dream of a Phoenix that is inclusive of queer families and has a thriving Black business community.

  Max Gutierrez, Community Research    I have grown up in phoenix my whole life. I have seen the good and the bad. I have seen people of color be targeted for nothing but the color of their skin. I have seen people from the east side stare in shock at the west side. I have seen the range of people and culture in phoenix. I fight because there is so much diversity and love in a city that has a system that is meant to put down people of color. I fight for the people that have been attacked just for being born a different shade. I fight for my city. I am a digital organizer at CNL. I connect with people online and help build our social media presence.  The Phoenix I dream of is somewhere you are not stopped because of the color of your skin. Where anyone can walk down the road at night without fear of the police. Where getting shot at a traffic stop is not possible. The Phoenix I dream of is a safe place for anyone, regardless of how they identify.

Max Gutierrez, Community Research

I have grown up in phoenix my whole life. I have seen the good and the bad. I have seen people of color be targeted for nothing but the color of their skin. I have seen people from the east side stare in shock at the west side. I have seen the range of people and culture in phoenix. I fight because there is so much diversity and love in a city that has a system that is meant to put down people of color. I fight for the people that have been attacked just for being born a different shade. I fight for my city. I am a digital organizer at CNL. I connect with people online and help build our social media presence.

The Phoenix I dream of is somewhere you are not stopped because of the color of your skin. Where anyone can walk down the road at night without fear of the police. Where getting shot at a traffic stop is not possible. The Phoenix I dream of is a safe place for anyone, regardless of how they identify.

  Kate Tutaya, RadComms + Art   Biracial. Bisexual. Bilingual(ish). I do communications for CNL, so I’m the one taking photos, figuring out how to communicate political ideas, writing press releases, making flyers, planning videos, and dealing with reporters. I fight back because I was fought with first from a poor public school education that taught me deference over advocacy and a government and police state that patronizes and tries to control me.  The Phoenix I dream of is a cultural and political hub for the great artists and thinkers of today. I imagine poets, builders, musicians, philosophers coming here to see what we’re up to and our people filling alleys to hear them.   I dream of a Phoenix that isn’t trying to be other places; that embraces its history, its diversity, and its intensity. I wish we were building denser, investing in real public transport, taking care of our homeless neighbors, planting native plants, and speaking Spanish in our government. 

Kate Tutaya, RadComms + Art

Biracial. Bisexual. Bilingual(ish). I do communications for CNL, so I’m the one taking photos, figuring out how to communicate political ideas, writing press releases, making flyers, planning videos, and dealing with reporters. I fight back because I was fought with first from a poor public school education that taught me deference over advocacy and a government and police state that patronizes and tries to control me.

The Phoenix I dream of is a cultural and political hub for the great artists and thinkers of today. I imagine poets, builders, musicians, philosophers coming here to see what we’re up to and our people filling alleys to hear them. 

I dream of a Phoenix that isn’t trying to be other places; that embraces its history, its diversity, and its intensity. I wish we were building denser, investing in real public transport, taking care of our homeless neighbors, planting native plants, and speaking Spanish in our government. 

 
  Luke Black, Organizational Support   Phoenix has been my home since 2004. The work that we do here is important because we have the right to live free of fear and violence. We have the right to pursue our dreams. White supremacy, colonization, misogyny, and state violence are a direct attack on our lives and on the lives of those we love.  I love our team and our work. It is hard but we are family and we support each other. As a member of the team, I write grants, do fundraising, and support our organizational structure.  The Phoenix I dream of is full of colors and music; full of lights and smell of food cooking; full of people living beautiful lives free of fear and full of hope.

Luke Black, Organizational Support

Phoenix has been my home since 2004. The work that we do here is important because we have the right to live free of fear and violence. We have the right to pursue our dreams. White supremacy, colonization, misogyny, and state violence are a direct attack on our lives and on the lives of those we love.

I love our team and our work. It is hard but we are family and we support each other. As a member of the team, I write grants, do fundraising, and support our organizational structure.

The Phoenix I dream of is full of colors and music; full of lights and smell of food cooking; full of people living beautiful lives free of fear and full of hope.

  Ken Chapman, Curriculum & Organizer Support     

Ken Chapman, Curriculum & Organizer Support

 

  Mike Cassidy, Training & Media Advisor   Phoenix has always been my home and where I feel most deeply rooted in my purpose. I was moved to action by the constant onslaught of anti-immigrant legislation which has terrorized local communities since I was a child, and I became involved with organizing and community building work in 2011. Since that time I’ve supported various social justice organizations, campaigns and youth programs as an organizer, canvasser, workshop facilitator, video editor, and through direct action. I fight to stop family separation, racial profiling, and criminalization and to cultivate a better way of moving in the world. I am proud to serve as a member of the Center for Neighborhood Leadership team and to support our Ignite organizers because I am committed to doing this work at a local level alongside those who are most directly impacted by the deportation and incarceration of our community members and loved ones.  The Phoenix I dream of is becoming more real with each passing day.    

Mike Cassidy, Training & Media Advisor

Phoenix has always been my home and where I feel most deeply rooted in my purpose. I was moved to action by the constant onslaught of anti-immigrant legislation which has terrorized local communities since I was a child, and I became involved with organizing and community building work in 2011. Since that time I’ve supported various social justice organizations, campaigns and youth programs as an organizer, canvasser, workshop facilitator, video editor, and through direct action. I fight to stop family separation, racial profiling, and criminalization and to cultivate a better way of moving in the world. I am proud to serve as a member of the Center for Neighborhood Leadership team and to support our Ignite organizers because I am committed to doing this work at a local level alongside those who are most directly impacted by the deportation and incarceration of our community members and loved ones.

The Phoenix I dream of is becoming more real with each passing day.


 

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Stanford Prescott
Governing Board Member, Phoenix Union High School District

Stanford Prescott serves as a Governing Board Member for the Phoenix Union High School District. Professionally, he works as a community engagement coordinator for a refugee resettlement agency. Stanford has spent multiple years as a community organizer and political advocate, including as a staff member of Center for Neighborhood Leadership for two years. Stanford is a graduate of Arizona State University and South Mountain High School. As a Phoenix native, Stanford remembers from his youth how the government would quickly respond to issues in the rich neighborhoods but slowly respond to issues in our working class neighborhoods, or never respond at all. Stanford believes that we need new leaders, especially leaders of color, to end inequalities in our systems. For this reason, Stanford believes in CNL because CNL creates the space for new leaders of color to fight for progressive policy.