Dear Grassroots Leadership Family,
Today, we are enormously proud to announce Claudia Muñoz and Annette Price as Grassroots Leadership’s new co-Executive Directors.
We are proud to be amongst the first non-profits in the south whose leadership and staff are personally impacted by the systems we are trying to dismantle including mass incarceration, detention, and deportation.
The leadership transition follows a year-long process undertaken by Grassroots Leadership’s board and staff who have worked together with the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group (NPAG). The process and our final selection reaffirm our work and mission by elevating movement leadership amongst people of color impacted by mass incarceration, immigration detention and deportation.
Grassroots Leadership works to change policies and practices that perpetuate mass incarceration and deportation and to build power in, by, and for the communities most impacted by these issues. Please check out this short video to learn more about our new co-directors and their vision for our organization and our movement in the coming days, months, and years.
About our new co-directors:
Claudia Muñoz has been a community organizer for over 14 years and has been on the front-lines of some of the most important fights in immigrant rights and labor movements during that time.
“I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. I am the daughter of an amazing woman who did not get to attend elementary school, but who since I have memory was a fierce union member and leader as a street vendor. I am the youngest of nine children and a member of a very large family, most of whom have lived here in Texas for nearly 20 years and who have been harmed by the immigration and criminal injustice systems. I am a survivor, undocumented, and currently in deportation proceedings. I began to reclaim my voice attending Lanier High School and later Prairie View A&M University. There, I learned that community organizing is the only dignified way toward collective liberation.”
Annette Price has over the past decade become a fierce advocate for the rights of formerly incarcerated people and has helped lead the movement to promote leadership of people with criminal convictions in spaces where decisions are made about their futures.
“I am a woman of color, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, college graduate and a person directly impacted by the criminal injustice system. I am the last child of ten born to a single parent in South Bend, Indiana. I believe it is my duty to serve communities who are affected the most by these systems, and to be a voice for those that do not have a voice at this time and help change policies and practices that perpetuate mass incarceration.”
Please read a little more about Annette and Claudia’s vision for the organization and the movement below:
Why Grassroots Leadership is important in this moment
We understand through lived experience how gentrification, incarceration and deportation disproportionately placed sufficient harm in communities of color. We are rooted in value and on the frontlines daily to be the change makers for a better quality of life for our community members. We lead by example for change.
At Grassroots Leadership, we understand that the harmful systems we seek to disrupt and end can also exist within us, and we actively address what we have to combat anti-blackness, white supremacy, and colonization internally and externally—in word and in practice. We do this by centering collective liberation over individual saviorism and by centering restorative and transformative practices over punitive measures so we can hold and honor ourselves but also convert harm, rage, and pain into healing and creative energy.
This work is not easy or comfortable, but it is necessary because fiercely disrupting and ending harmful systems are central to making sure we not only survive, but we also create terrain to thrive in. The significance and possibility of that terrain, those conditions existing, in a place as politically harmful as Texas, definitely make our organization and work of absolute essence.
Grassroots Leadership’s vision of the future
When we think about Grassroots Leadership and what makes us different, we ground ourselves in the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We are rooted in the fight for collective liberation. And together, we are stronger.
For far too long, our internalization of oppressive systems and negative messages have left us thinking nothing we do is good enough. We fight, but we don’t win “all the way”, and it's not good enough. However, now more than ever, we are poised to recognize that each and every one of us has an integral role in this movement. In this intergenerational fight for abolition, we are in a new moment that challenges us to learn new ways of being in relationship with one another and the communities we are part of. We must step out of our comfort zones to dismantle systems that keep all of us in bondage.
All of us are being called to undo and break while simultaneously creating and freeing. We know the path of justice is a hard walk, and in many ways, it is unpaved. But this is why we fight—to build and grow. We do not fight to win; we fight because that’s what our people do. It is the legacy of our ancestors and our duty to our descendants.
Our frameworks must be rooted in collective liberation and be radically creative if they are to eradicate anti-Blackness on the path to abolition. Our work and language must encompass both immigration and criminal justice work, from local, to state, to national.
Where we’re heading towards
We are moving towards a local and state agenda to center efforts across the state under a decarerate and reimagine Texas platform. We know that gentrification and other economic issues push more and more people into rural and suburban areas where community organizing is not prioritized or funded, and we want these communities to have access to what they need in order to transform their own communities.
We also know that Texas politics all across, but particularly in criminal justice and immigration, are harmful for the whole country; many new technologies and surveillance tools that harm our communities are tested and used here. We want to make sure that the state does not continue to play a harmful role in the national spectrum. What starts in Texas transforms the country, for better or for worse, and we are taking it upon ourselves to fully impact that.
Building on our work of over 40 years, we will continue with campaigns to shut down cages, repeal harmful laws like SB4, divest from all forms of policing and incarceration, center community building, and most importantly, lay a collective groundwork for conditions that honor life, abundance, joy, and transformation in communities where death, scarcity, harm, and pain have been the systemic norm.
We know this work is hard, and we must take care of each other. That’s why internally, we’re also building up our first People’s Operation department to fill vacant positions, and we will continue creating restorative justice and healing circles for our staff and base members to ensure our organization and base remains healthy and solvent.
We can’t do this work without your support. It’s going to take each and every one of us working together towards a future where our lives are no longer interrupted and harmed by the systems of mass incarceration, criminalization, and deportation. At Grassroots Leadership, we are led by the people and rooted in transformation. Please consider making a donation today in celebration of our next chapter.
Thank you for walking alongside us; let’s get there together.