Earth Day 2013
Dear Got Green Supporter,
One of our volunteer writers asked Vernon Hill a pivotal question in community organizing – “Why, when it’s so easy to hang back, have you stepped forward to lead?”
“I do it because I want to come forth myself and speak up for what’s right,” Vernon told us. “But I really do it so that others feel they can come forth too.”
Vernon Hill, grassroots leader in Got Green’s South Seattle Jobs Committee, hit the nail on the head. His real reason for leading isn’t because he wants to put himself out in front of his community; it’s because he wants to pave the way for more people in his community to lead.
Tammy Nguyen, founder and organizer of our Women in the Green Economy Project/Food Access Team often frames the alternative to community organizing and leading as “getting left behind.” In describing her evolution from single teen parent to community leader, she says simply, “I did not want my family, neighbors and communities to be left behind again. I wanted us on the front end of this movement for a new, green economy. Not sitting on the side of the freeway watching it pass us by.”
The theme of our 2012 Got Green Organizing Report is “Emerging Leadership.” Throughout these pages we have shared the voices and perspectives of several Got Green “emerging” leaders. We have tried to give you a sense of how we build and promote leadership – at all levels of our organization.
Read the story of our Food Access Team members who travelled to the state capitol on behalf of the 40,000 other low-income families who stood to lose healthy, local produce. Learn about our South Seattle Jobs Committee members who dared to “speak truth to power” when they learned no local residents were gaining employment rebuilding the Rainier Beach Community Center. And hear how Got Green’s Board of Directors and our innovative Green-A-Thon fundraising event are helping take our small, grassroots group from start-up to sustainability.
Our new Lead Organizer, Jill Mangaliman, reminds us that, “we all have our part.” If we are to win more victories for economic and racial justice – while keeping our sights set on building structures to sustain both our natural and our human environment – it will require many more of us to step out of our comfort zones, to do our part, to lead. We will be required to assume new roles, to learn new skills, to speak up when we are used to stepping back, and to step back when we are used to speaking up.
Thank you for supporting all of the emerging leaders at Got Green and in our communities of color more broadly. Thank you for doing your part. Thank you for being a leader and paving the way for others to lead.
Inye Wokoma, Board Chair and Michael Woo, Director