A Message from MUA’s Co-Director Andrea Lee
There are few things I am prouder of than the leader that Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) has helped me to become. MUA’s members have taught me about vision, strength, perseverance, humility, warmth, and resilience. I have been able to practice– with successes and failures –showing up every moment of every day in solidarity and authentic relationship with Latina immigrants and demonstrating that we all have a stake in ensuring dignity and justice for immigrant women workers and their families in this country.
That is why it is so difficult to share that after 14 years as MUA’s Co-Director I will be transitioning out of my role at the end of this year.
From the moment I walked through MUA’s doors, I knew that I had found something very special. MUA’s model of recognizing that social change is dependent on radical personal transformation, mutual support, and deep connection represented a new approach to organizing and building political power – one that values the humanity and full life experience of every person. We build powerful movements when we lift up each individual and connect our struggles and aspirations with one another.
I am proud of the organization we have built together. We have grown our staff, budget, and influence. We have strengthened thousands of women and their families and helped them to see what we see in them – power and leadership. We have emphasized our interdependence and the importance of changing the way we value one another. We have demanded respect for the leadership and contributions of immigrant women to our society. We have made visible the work that makes all other work possible and won ground-breaking labor protections for domestic workers in California. We have told the truth about immigrant women’s lives, dreams, and courage in a political climate plagued by xenophobia and racism. We have stood up for immigrant families against politicians who demonize them and tear apart their families. We have played an important part in founding and sustaining an inspiring national and international social justice movement that places immigrant women workers at the center. We have helped to spearhead local and state immigrant and workers’ rights coalitions that have advanced the most pro-immigrant agenda in the country. We have expanded our reach beyond our initial homes of San Francisco and Oakland to communities like Hayward and Fremont where many of our immigrant families are moving due to displacement and gentrification. We have created new organizational structures and models that prioritize immigrant women’s leadership and demonstrate what a member-led and driven organization looks like.
MUA’s Co-Director Juana Flores has formed a transition committee composed of members of our staff and board that will work with long-time organizational consultants Emily Goldfarb, Margi Clarke, and Ana Perez to chart a plan for the organization’s future leadership. To say that I am confident in MUA’s team and leadership is an understatement. I work with the most compassionate, visionary, and thoughtful women in the world. I know that they will not only successfully navigate this transition but also utilize this change to strengthen and offer new innovations to MUA’s model and structure.
I will remain in my role through December and after that will be available to the organization on a consultancy basis until the transition to our new leadership structure is complete. In the meantime, feel free to reach out if you have any questions about our ongoing work together, or just to say hello. I will also be reaching out to many of you to make sure that you are able to build connections with key organizational leaders, offer your input, and identify ways to continue to support MUA through this transition process.
I want to thank each and every one of you for standing with and contributing to MUA in so many ways. I invite you to continue to do so into the future. As part of my transition, I will be launching a Solidarity Legacy Fund with the goal of raising $140,000 or $10,000 for each year I worked at MUA. I hope that you will consider donating when asked.