Sister Judy has been our Lead Organizer at One-LA, the Los Angeles affiliate of the IAF, for just short of two years. In that time, Sister Judy has graced One-LA with her incredible skill set, her dogged and disciplined organizing skills, and her warm and supportive spirit. Sadly, the time has come to say goodbye. Hopefully, just for now.
Judy has been a Roman Catholic Sister of St. Joseph of Lyon for over 30 years. Born in California and raised in Maine, she has Bachelor of Art degrees in Psychology and Philosophy, a Master of Social Work, and seven years of experience working in Brazil in lay leadership development. She learned of the IAF when she was in Graduate School and was drawn to the IAF’s commitment to taking the faith community seriously, their development of lay leadership and their long track record of success. She was brought to One-LA by Ernesto Cortés Jr., the Co-Director of the IAF and supervisor of One-LA.
Judy speaks of her time at One-LA. “The current power of the organization is a direct testimony to decades of creating what the IAF refers to as 'a culture of conversation,' a culture based on building relationships, cultivating leadership, and going into action. I am most proud of what we did together. My contributions would not have been possible without member institutions who are serious about their missions and leaders who find joy in acting together.”
Personally, I have only known Judy very briefly. I was instantly drawn to her strength, faith, and clarity. As a fellow storyteller, I was most impressed with her belief in the power of personal story.
“A lot of people have been taught, and through their experience have learned, that their story has no value. But in organizing, we see someone’s story, their experience, as a primary source of power if it leads them into action with others. So, their own experience, their pain, their anger doesn’t remain just their private experience, it gets shared, reflected on with others, and transformed into something new."
When asked about her own personal story, Judy responded: “Well, this is more of a prelude to a story, but a leader just reminded me of the Torah portion from the Hebrew scriptures,” says Judy, “where the people of God are reminded that if they encounter an ox or a sheep or any property that is lost, they cannot just ignore it; they are obligated to find the owner and return it. This leader said the Hebrew verb for ‘you can’t ignore it’ is reflexive and comes from the root verb ‘to disappear’. My life story is full of experiences where God reminded me that I can’t ‘disappear myself’ from the issues and challenges of our world; that I am called and obligated to act together with others. We cannot ‘disappear ourselves’ from public life here in LA, neither can we simply ‘resist’, especially now; we need to show up. It has been a blessing to be able to ‘show up’ with One-LA and I’m looking forward to seeing the story they create moving forward.”
Judy will officially be taking a leave of absence from the IAF to return to Maine to assist the sisters of her order. She will remain connected to the IAF and plans to return to her career at a later time. She fully supports our candidate for Lead Organizer, Robert Hoo (pictured to the right), and praises him highly. "Robert is a smart, thoughtful, and successful organizer with the imagination and energy to work with leaders to bring One-LA into the future. He started out here in LA, so he knows and appreciates its complexity and possibilities. For the last five years, he’s been the Lead Organizer with Nevadans for the Common Good in Las Vegas where, through his leadership, they grew exponentially and had significant impact on public policy. He wants to be back in LA, and I’m very pleased that the leaders of One-LA want him. Together with Surya Kalra, One LA’s Senior Organizer, One-LA will have a very talented organizing staff.”
Judy has had a meaningful and measurable impact on One-LA and has had a positive influence on everyone who has been lucky enough to work with her. She has helped drive nearly three times the growth in membership and money in her tenure, she has set a path for future success, and she has touched many hearts. We will miss her dearly. Goodbye, Sister Judy, for now.
IMMIGRATION AND SAFETY WITH LAPD
At the Delegates Assembly on July 16, Deputy Chief Robert Arcos pledged to work with One-LA Leaders as we rebuild trust in our communities. The changes made by our federal government have created fear in our immigrant communities that has severed the trust between the immigrant community and the police. Reporting crime is paramount for the police to be able to help victims of crime. Being afraid to talk to the police is also a public safety issue for everyone. Our institutions will be meeting with captains or senior lead officers in our local precinct stations as we rebuild these relationships.
On September 14, the immigration strategy team met with Captain Al Labrada from the Hollenbeck Community Police Station. He shared with us how he has been building the Boyle Heights Collaborative, and he has expressed enthusiasm about setting up leaders from our institutions with local police stations. He is also eager to build relationships and meet the varied challenges that face the immigrant community. Human trafficking is a major problem in South LA, and a meeting is being set with the South LA Cluster and the Captain of the 77th Street Community Police Station. The issues may differ, but the work of rebuilding trust and creating new relationships has begun.
HEALTHCARE CIVIC ACADEMY
On August 10 we held a Civic Academy on Healthcare with Dr. Mitch Katz, the Director of the Los Angeles Department of Health Services. At that meeting, he shared his view on how we can achieve universal health coverage in the county. While the concept of "Single Payer" is a good idea, he feels that it may be too difficult to achieve politically at this time.
We discussed with him the problems patients have in receiving mental health services in the county, and we tasked him with the work of improving access to these services, as well as health services to the incarcerated. He encouraged us to help pass SB 554, a bill that will allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide more medical services that will ultimately increase the capacity to reach our increased numbers of patients. More information on upcoming learning opportunities will be sent in the near future.
Sunday, October 22
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: TBD NATURALIZATION INFORMATION SESSION
Saturday, September 23
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
St. John's Well Child & Family Center
808 W. 58th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037
IMMIGRATION AND DACA INFORMATION SESSION
Saturday, September 23
Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church
2190 W. 31st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90018
FREEDOM SUNDAY ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Sunday, September 24
St. Brigid & Holy Name For more information, please contact Sheila Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Carolyn Winston (email@example.com).
HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH MEETING
With Dr. Shirin, who is the LA County Director of Behavioral Health
Tuesday, October 10
10:30 AM For more information, please contact Yvonne Mariajiminez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
IMMIGRATION LEGAL CLINIC
Saturday, October 14
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
South Central LAMP
892 E. 48th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90011 For more information, please contact Lambreni Waddell (email@example.com).
FINAL LEADERS MEETING OF 2017
Wednesday, November 1
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
515 W. 27th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS CIVIC ACADEMY
With Mayor Eric Garcetti
Date and Location: TBD in November
FIVE-DAY IAF LEADERSHIP TRAINING
Monday, November 13 – Friday, November 17
Our Lady of the Lake University
411 SW 24th Street
San Antonio, TX 78207 If interested in attended, please contact One-LA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR WORK IS!
One-LA has been hard at work building a broad-based organization that develops leaders among ordinary citizens, builds power in communities that are often shut out of public decision-making, and has the capacity to shape the economic future of Los Angeles County.
Invest in One-LA and its continued work of creating a vibrant and inclusive democratic culture in Los Angeles.