Resistance, Courage, and Hope. A Letter to the Community from Our New Co-Director

Lupe Poblano

You can read the full announcement about leadership changes at CompassPoint here



Familia, I’d like to introduce you to someone really important to me. Mi abuelita Rosa was born in a small rural town in Michoacán, Mexico almost 100 years ago, and she was indigenous to the Tarascán civilization. Tarascans are proud and fierce; they were one of the only tribes in Mexico that remained unconquered by the Aztec empire. I would argue that Tarascán blood is the thickest liquid on Earth. Mi abuelita Rosa loved to dance, was a genuine listener, could captivate a room by saying only a few words, and would show her love for others through acts of kindness.

About 55 years ago, she came to California as an undocumented immigrant. As a recently widowed single mother of eight children, she came to escape a violent situation and save her family. She used every drop of her Tarascán pride and fierceness to survive, raise her babies, and become the Matriarch of our family. She refused to speak English. She fought for what she believed in. She was a person of faith. And her story continues to energize me with the spirit of resistance, courage, and hope in the service of love.   

I came to CompassPoint six months after mi abuelita passed away. In a very real way, my time at CompassPoint has kept her spirit and story alive for me. The colleagues that I work with and the communities that CompassPoint walks with inspire me to live into mi abuelita’s spirit of resistance, courage, and hope.  
 

Resistance
 

I stand on this ground, in what is currently known as the United States of America, because of mi abuelita. And I am so grateful to work with a community at CompassPoint which recognizes that all our work toward positive social change is built on ancestral legacies of resistance and resilience. On my desk, I have a piece of art from Melanie Cervantes that reads: exist & resist & indigenize & decolonize and it sits right across from the altar I have, which includes a picture of mi abuelita. I look to both to tap into my sources of strength. It gives me courage.
 

Courage
 

The politics of our time require an explicit commitment to liberation and freedom. Ultimately, that commitment guides all the work we do at CompassPoint. The communities we care about are at an inflection point, and not just because of increased attacks against our existence, but also because of the opportunity to create a world around us and for us that liberates us. We’re not just dismantling what doesn’t work; we’re imaging and building something that serves us better. We’re not just surviving; we’re thriving.

At CompassPoint, we find ourselves at a similar inflection point. Our move towards liberation and equity means we continue to fight for racial and gender justice—not just representation of people of color and marginalized people in leadership positions—and continue to build power with others who want the same. That approach is rooted in our values here at CompassPoint. Moreover, it is what our community demands from us.

The fact that we are intentionally and explicitly centering racial and gender justice while lifting up the leadership of people of color gives me hope that new possibilities aren’t around the corner—they are already here.


Hope
 

Humans don’t think hope—we feel hope. I feel the Nelson Mandela quote: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” In my bones I can feel the hope mi abuelita—the Matriarch—has for me and all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I feel all the possibilities that open up when we act out of love and compassion. At CompassPoint, we are making choices internally and with our work in the community out of hope and courage.
 

Finally, what excites me the most about stepping into this new role as Co-Director is to continue to work shoulder to shoulder with my community here at CompassPoint. I am literally getting teary-eyed thinking about how much gratitude and love I have for them. They have shaped, radicalized, and transformed me. They have held me during times of deep grief, and have helped put me back together again after I have cracked myself open.

I’m proud to be a leader among leaders at CompassPoint and to keep working as part of this community to lift up our collective vision for making CompassPoint the best partner to leaders working in service of liberation and social change it can be. 
 



Read Other Blogs by Lupe:

Recent Posts

We’re writing to let you know about some changes to our workshops program, what you can expect in 2019, and why we're excited about where we're headed with you.
 

Elizabeth Ayala

In this guest blog, Elizabeth Ayala (Senior Program Associate at the Women's Foundation of California) explores what it's like to tackle negative internal scripts through one-on-one coaching with a certified coach. Elizabeth participated in CompassPoint's Next Generation Leaders of Color (Inland Region) leadership development program over the last year.
 

Lupe Poblano

What can you do when diversity efforts fall short within your organization? ICompassPoint Project Director Lupe Poblano challenges readers—white and people of color—to confront white dominant culture within your nonprofit as the best way to move your organization toward equity. Lupe also provides practical, real suggestions on steps you can take to initiate change.
 

Submit a comment