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Julia Mejia on The Art People Podcast

Latinos Who Lunch
Last month

Episode 31: Are you The Fraud, The Comparer, The Perfectionist, The Saboteur?

IGeNIGHT Podcast
3 d ago


My when I was a kid. I struggled with depression right. You know it was hard right and so writing was a form of therapy for me and it's still Israel. I think that we have to. We have to celebrate the arts more. And that's the first thing that take away in the public schools that took away the art. They take away the things that are help us feel better about ourselves. You know making us feel like individuals and give giving US Agency to and the hope that we can do whatever I wanna do and I know you've given a lot of people hope and I really appreciate your doing that. I read a little bit about some of the organizations. You help create. Tell me a little bit about my guy. Termine divas lease divas so back in. Twenty fifteen I was getting to the point where I was tired of elected officials knocking on my door asking me for their vote and then we don't see them after the elections right so I was part of this Organization Call Family Independence Initiative and I decided I applied for a small little social impact grant to launch this initiative. And it's a volunteer led Of the grant they will pay for the food and the location just logistic stuff like that. It was a nonprofit was a volunteer. Led Initiative is not a organization but we really made a name for ourselves. We create its base for people who had never engaged in the political conversation to work. In collaboration with elected officials in what we would do is instead of allowing elected officials to sit on panels looking all Q. What we did is our elected official dialogues where speed dating and we would have them facilitate their own conversations and so we wanted them to recognize that they work for us and it was in them doing us. Any favors is that we were here too. We did that intentionally to level the playing field so that the constituents are coming in knew that this was a collaborative conversation and that was not this US versus them that one person at power over the other so that really created the type of environment where elected officials and constituents could be in the same space having the same conversation and through that work. I met a Yana Presley Congresswoman Ileana Presley today and there were times when she would come into our spaces when we would host different types of dialogues was. She wasn't even slated to speak but she would show up because she knew in our space. We always had the real real talk and it was in the one was paying us. We were doing this because we want it to be registered thousands of people to vote and this was all because we were tired and we wanted to change the way. We did things in the Boston. And then I also launched a nonprofit which I was the founder and the Executive Director of a nonprofit called C. Plan which is a collaborative parent leadership action network and that came at a time when there was a big divide between district and charter parents and I wanted to create space for parents to have one conversation because we knew no matter where our kids ended up there was work to do. And so we do parent leadership development so we train parents on how to become more engaged in their school and then we work with the schools so they can culturally responsibly. Receivers in ways that would make sense so we provide training. It's a dual capacity model. But when I won the election and I didn't create the organization so that I can always be the leader of it. I created it so that it can grow on its own. And that's what real organizing about. So we have two of our founding members that are now the executive directors of our organization. Yes yeah yeah I mean but since I was a kid though I've always been engaged. You know formally or informally in every space that I've been. I felt like had to lock down. I worked at MTV if you read anything about political correspondent. Yeah Yeah I was the first time reporter. I'm covering presidential elections for two thousand. I was told you either go melon. It was in two thousand. I covered that presidential election and then I worked at MTV for ten years as a producer years ten years and I had to fight for every story that I pitched but here I am I changed. I changed I even when I was there. I changed the way they reported on issues. That were impacting black and Brown folks. I did a story about the census. I did a lot of separate representation. So you know. I've always been this way you know and I feel like running and winning and you know we we only you gotTa tell me the story. You want by one vote. I know so. If you're you don't think your vote matters Brady Brady. Who's part of our team said? I was the one vote wonder told me that state. Yeah so let me just tell you so first of all we set out to do this campaign in a way that was really a grassroots and it wasn't because we wanted to because we had to. We had less money than everyone else. We have a lot of political backing. And but I always said that. I had rather have lost. An uplifted are people that have won an elected US along the way because nobody really pays attention to black and brown communities way so we were in laundry mats hair salons. We were just out in these streets and we would talk to everybody even whether they were registered to vote or whether they were voter not because this was really about engagement and so we came in it was there was fifteen candidates in the primary the first in September and we went from fifteen to one of the top eight and I came in fifth in the top four slots go on but I came in fifth out of the eight so everybody was really surprised that for a first time candidate. I was only a few thousand votes away from the top. Four vote getters surprised too but then November came and we ended up like winning by ten votes. That was crazy. I was even afraid to announce their claim it but we did. And then we found out that the margin was to tie that we're going to go into a recount. And you know I was like. Let's go because this is about democracy. Let's go every vote matters. Let's make sure that it does yes. And so we headed into a recount and It was like three weeks God. The recount was lasted like three days but leading up to we had to collect signatures to petition to get right. Yeah Yup and financial debt right now as a result of it but I will say that My lawyer who did my recount was the same lawyer who did the recount for Al Gore when he ran in two thousand about life coming in full certain on my life is full of full circles so when the boat the final was announced that neigh my opponent we went to bed with another cliffhanger that she was thinking about going to court and at that point you know I had reached the point where it was like you know I was all good for the recount. I was all in. Let's go was Markazi but to take this now into the court system where people of color don't already believe in the court system. It just felt like we were going to. It just didn't feel right to me. I was going to go all in for the court was good for it but if it made me feel some kind of way but what happened was is that there are a lot of people who were voting for the first time because we engaged first time voters we engaged. naturalized citizens that normally only vote presidential races in the way our ballot is composed says right name in so some folks who filled out the ballot not only circled my name but then they also wrote my name in and that invalidated their boat. Oh no and so we have to fight for those votes C. And you know it really helped us understand how much we need do. In educating first time voters on how to fill out ballot they were they were like. Yeah we want her so bad. We're going to pick her her name because they but yeah those ballots. We're going to be challenged in court. So yeah