Monday marks my last day at the Partnership, and the beginning of a new chapter for this incredible network. In August we welcome our new Executive Director, Nikki Bas, who has been a fantastic partner and leader, board chair and friend. You can send her a note of welcome at email@example.com. Until Nikki starts at the Partnership, our capable Deputy Director, Kathleen Mulligan-Hansel (firstname.lastname@example.org), will act as Interim Executive Director.
I have been incredibly fortunate to work with Nikki, and know that our staff and board have unwavering confidence in her vision, values and skills. I look forward to watching the network thrive under her leadership.
Since 2006, our affiliates have been building off of a powerful model to reshape the economy from the ground up. We believe that bold action and innovation are needed to get our country on track, and that a network rooted in cities – grounded where people live and work – is the most effective way to strengthen our democracy and create a fair and just economy. We have collaborated across cities to build a truly transformative movement that lifts worker and community power together.
Today, as a new generation of progressive public officials emerges in cities, our mission is revitalized. We have invested in each other, 17 affiliates supporting each other’s growth, development and success. We have taken what were once new ideas – like Community Benefits Agreements and accountable development – to scale. We have developed new models from construction careers to Community Workforce Agreements, from year-round civic engagement to industry specific living wage campaigns. We have undertaken bold initiatives to maximize local control of global polluters through Transforming Trash and the Campaign for Clean and Safe Ports.
Through Transforming Trash we are demonstrating that reforming recycling is urgent and possible in the biggest cities in our country. LAANE and the Don't Waste LA campaign have already won a complete transformation of LA's private sector waste system, which will clean up diesel emissions, slash landfill disposal, and bring quality service for LA's businesses and apartment dwellers. In New York, ALIGN and Transform Don’t Trash NYC are aggressively moving plans to boost the City's dismal 16% recycling rate, fix long standing environmental justice problems, and improve jobs for thousands of low wage waste workers. Finally, Walmart’s recent announcement of a $100 million investment in recycling infrastructure reinforces our belief that if we don’t shape recycling policy, corporate America will.
We have invested in the dream of taking this further – supporting the development of new coalitions and campaigns in more than 30 cities, many of whom joined us at our 5th National Summit in Los Angeles this February. Whether through local living wage, community benefits, or transforming trash campaigns – to name a few – our network is sharing what works with cities across the country. This was our purpose upon our founding in 2006, and has only increased in relevance and resonance today.
I am proud of what we have accomplished together. It has been an incredible privilege to work with such a talented and effective board and staff, and endlessly inspiring to support new leadership among the staff and allies of our affiliates. We are energetic, hopeful and tireless.
Personally, I welcome the next generation of change-makers to our movement. I entered activism as a young mother in 1988, and have been fortunate to raise a family while dedicating my life to social change organizing. Twenty-six years later, I’m inspired by the vision and passion that the next generation brings, and it calls up the “si se puede” attitude that first propelled me to take risks and embrace change. As a movement leader, I look forward to supporting progress and those who dedicate their lives to it in a new and sustainable way.
I am working in partnership with my husband, Mitch Ackerman, to breathe new life into an old ranch in New Mexico. Together we are creating a retreat center in the heart of the Southwest, to support established and emerging leaders in an environment where people and their organizations can renew themselves and imagine the possible together. We strive for a place where both important conversations and well-deserved relaxation go hand-in-hand.
We are whole-heartedly embracing this next chapter, and are excited to share it with friends from our organizing life. You can find us at www.ranchogallina.com. Please stay in touch, and let us know when your work – or your life – draws you to New Mexico.
Thank you, as always, for your unwavering support and steadfast commitment to justice.