Marissa, a new Sadie Nash Board Member, has experience in organizational and movement capacity building and speaks on and writes about issues related to design thinking, systems change, movement and field building, network and adaptive leadership, and strategy. She believes deeply in creating and holding spaces of Joy and Liberation.
How did you come to Sadie Nash?
In 2017 I moved from Oakland, CA to Brooklyn. We all move through the world in community, and as I began looking for my Brooklyn community, Chitra Aiyar’s name kept popping up. I attended a Leadership Lab where Nashers talked about Sadie Nash. I saw my daughter reflected in these young women, and I knew I needed to find a way to support the organization and be in its universe.
Why does Sadie Nash’s mission resonate with you?
The benefit of investing in young women of color is exponential in terms of capacity for change. Every year I revisit my “northstar”, my purpose as it relates to who I am in the world, and year after year it continues to be centering, amplifying, and nourishing leadership of black and brown women and girls. My experience has been that when you follow the leadership of young women of color, it leads to solutions that lift up everybody.
If we center the safety, strengthening, and leadership of girls of color it transforms individuals, families, and communities. People who sit at the intersection of oppressions have the possibility of imagining something different. The multiplicity of their lens shows that issues underlying social ills aren’t siloed, so they have creative, longer-lasting solutions to these tough problems.
Can you tell us more about what makes Nashers stand out?
Nashers have two things that make them more effective leaders: they have an analysis of power, and they have a unique depth of self awareness. They understand how power shows up in relationships, how they personally have power, and how they might build power with each other to disrupt power that oppresses others. And their self awareness is especially keen around the multiple identities they hold and how these identities can be fluid.
These insights make them better leaders, because I think good leadership interrogates power deeply. Where does it live? Who holds it? Power isn’t a bad thing, but systems of power should be questioned. Because good leadership also offers a vision for liberation and freedom — for everyone.
You said that you see your daughter reflected in Nashers. What do you hope for her as she comes of age?
I hope she has an unwavering sense of value and self worth. And I hope this moves beyond herself and translates into collective action for others. I want for her to see herself as being deeply connected to other women.
If you could tell your 16 year old self something what would it be?
Expect judgement, do it anyway.
And if your 16 year old self could tell you something, what would it be?
Make time to imagine more.