Leader Spotlight

Posted by: Gordon on 4/11/2016 | 0 Comments

James MarbleWhat is your current involvement with Gamaliel?

I’m working with the Safe Neighborhoods taskforce of ABLE (Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment).

How did you get involved originally?

I connected with ABLE through my church, First Afrikan Presbyterian, in 1998. My initial concern and interest was the poor physical maintenance of schools in DeKalb County.

The executive director of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, ACRB, recently thanked ABLE for its work to pass the legislation enabling the Board. What was your role in making that happen?

My role in the ACRB legislation was to coordinate with Executive Director Samuel Lee Reid to improve citizen turnout at Atlanta City Council meetings as the legislation was presented and reviewed. Director Reid did a great job of communicating and informing us of dates and times he needed support from citizens.

What are you hoping will result from this change?

The amended legislation gives the Review Board more teeth to hold law enforcement accountable. Prior to this amendment, the Atlanta Police Chief had to approve any findings by the Board, which allowed the police department to self-select how they policed themselves.

What are you working on now?

We plan to apply the lessons learned from the Atlanta Citizen Review Board to development of a Citizens Review Board in DeKalb County. We need to agree on the approach, identify allies in this effort, and develop an agreed-upon timeline.

I plan to assist ABLE in growing to critical mass and develop leaders to assist in the work we are doing. We are missing a great opportunity to develop our young people who are passionate about change in politics.

How do you want people to view you as a leader?

I've been in a leadership role since starting as a varsity quarterback as a sophomore at age 15. In 1974 I enrolled at Georgia Tech on a football scholarship. I played corner and safety (in back-up roles) through 1978.There were some 65 Afrikan-American students of the then-9,000 students on campus in 1974. My black (Afrikan American) Ga. Tech classmates and myself experienced direct and systemic racism from day-one.

I began working for a technology firm from 1990 as an Operations Manager and transitioned into Project Management as the Internet age began, and ultimately became a vice president in Information Technology for a financial services company.

Categories: Georgia |
Posted by: Gordon on 1/19/2016 | 0 Comments

Octavia Moore in action
Octavia Moore, 16, holding paper at center, says Oakland, CA affiliate Genesis helped her find her voice. Her work on the group's campaign to win free public transit for students to go to and from school has led to work to end the school to prison pipeline in Oakland schools and a deeper approach to structural racism. 

What is your current involvement with Gamaliel?

My role as a youth leader in Genesis is to educate the public about running issues in society in addition to leading demonstrations and connecting the public to our commissioners and powerful groups. My goal this year before I go to college is to train and help other youth in my community realize their potential and become powerful forces in society.

How did you get involved originally?

When I was in seventh grade, a church friend connected me to Genesis’ lead organizer Mary Lim-Lampe, who was looking for a youth to share experiences and views on public transportation. I used to be very shy, timid and wouldn’t really speak in class but Mary helped me embrace my voice and personal experiences.

I had to learn to be comfortable with talking and presenting. I was the only youth representative in most of the meetings I attended, and it took me a while to realize that if I never showed up to these meetings and spoke up at them, they would have never heard from a youth even though they were making decisions that would impact people my age and generation.

What are some of your recent accomplishments?

In 2014 we won a ballot initiative campaign to fund a Free Youth Bus Pass for Alameda County youth going to school. In November, at Genesis’ Issues Assembly, my group brought the school-to-prison pipeline issue, which our entire leadership voted to address. We chose this because we saw that youth of color are not treated equally or fairly especially when it comes to our education and justice systems.

How do you want people to view you as a leader?

I want people to see me as loving and humble. Not as a perfect or typical leader, but as someone who strives to make their community better and safer.

I want a community where there are opportunities for all, not just the few. My goal as a leader is to allow people to see the light and humanity within each other and within themselves.

As a youth, I felt like because of my age I didn’t have the power or influence to make change within my community. But soon without realizing it I was doing the exact thing all my life I was taught I couldn’t do.

The reason I started my work on structural racism is because I saw how racism had impacted me. I saw people in my community were blocked from opportunities because of  the color of our skin, and realized that I had become so normalized into my community that I didn’t recognize this as structural racism but just how things were.

With a world that is consumed by the images and ideas of modern society we can lose focus of our own inner beauty. If we allowed ourselves to see the light within each other we would make policies and decisions that benefitted our communities as a whole, instead of policies and decisions that only benefit a specific group of people. Cornel West said, ”Justice is what love looks like in public.”

Can you talk about how your faith has inspired your leadership position?

I attend First Congregational Church of Oakland and have been attending this church ever since I was 8 years old. One thing that First Congregational has is community and the ability to bring together community in Oakland. At First Congregational I found where I fit in in my community and where I make change.

Categories: California |
Posted by: Gordon on 9/9/2015 | 0 Comments

Maria Van Core
This summer Maria G. Van Core, Action Greater Lansing board member and president of Greater Lansing Area chapter of Labor Council For Latin American Advancement, LCLAA, nominated ACTION organizer Aida Cuadrado for a labor-community partnership award. She is a local and national leader on immigration issues.

What is your current involvement with Gamaliel/Action of Greater Lansing?

Greater Lansing Area LCLAA Chapter was inducted in the Nehemiah Public meeting last year. Our involvement is working together on Immigration, educating the community on what is happening and knowing what to do in case an undocumented person gets detained.

How did you get involved originally?

A LCLAA member became involved with Action of Greater Lansing and the Civil Rights for Immigrants, CRI campaign, in her church. She recruited our chapter to become involved and learn about immigration. As U.S. Citizens, many of us had no idea of the hardship it happens to undocumented families.

What are some of your recent accomplishments with Gamaliel/Action of Greater Lansing?

Greater Lansing Area LCLAA Chapter joined Action of Greater Lansing on the Introduction of Ayotzinapa43-Missing Students. Also we joined together at our Lansing City Council and presented a resolution to make our city a “Welcoming City” to the Children of Central America. And we got together and did a rally in front of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Office asking him to remove his name from the lawsuit.

You recently nominated Aida Cuadrado for an award from the labor community. Why are labor-community alliances important in your mind?

It is important to me and my chapter that we unite as a community. Many who are not in a union will think that our activities are only for union households. With Aida, we have a connection that has helped us communicate clearly on issues that are important for everyone to understand and become involved.

What are you currently working on?

We just finished doing a fundraiser for two scholarships to high school graduates in May, and we are gearing up for National Voter Registration Day. We are preparing to do nonpartisan literature drop as the Lansing City Council is preparing to have elections. I was just invited to help plan a Hispanic Heritage Month gathering for area Latino organizations.

How do you want people to view you as a leader?

When I was recognized as a National LCLAA Women’s Leader last year, I was humbled to receive the award. I look at myself as an informative person. I try to get information and present it to my chapter members, and together we try to make the best of it.

Categories: Michigan |
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