UnidosUS’s 2019 Affiliate of the Year MEDA gathers more than 50 participants to work together in building Latino equity

On January 23 and 24, UnidosUS’s 2019 Affiliate of the Year Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) hosted our annual Peer Exchange at Plaza Adelante’s neighborhood center in San Francisco’s Mission District. More than 50 attendees from our Affillite Network joined us to learn best practices from last year’s awardee, focused on the theme of building Latino equity through wealth, place, and power-building by supporting each other and further organizing.

MEDA was recognized as our Affiliate of the Year for its commitment to achieving meaningful change for the Latino community. As UnidosUS’s President and CEO Janet Murguía stated: “We [honored] MEDA for its unyielding passion for helping hardworking Latino families attain greater financial security and achieve the American Dream,” and our network saw the value of this gathering and the connection created among Affiliates. MEDA’s Chief Strategy Officer Lucy Arellano Baglieri wrote about the experience and you can read it below:

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MEDA hosts UnidosUS Affiliate convening — pushing forth national movement for building Latino equity through wealth, place and power

by Chief Strategy Officer Lucy Arellano Baglieri

“We need to continue to connect resources and share best practices. These workshops were invaluable for our community.”

This was just one of the takeaways from the 50+ attendees at the Jan. 23-24 UnidosUS Affiliate convening MEDA hosted at our Plaza Adelante neighborhood center in San Francisco’s Mission District. MEDA is proud to have been honored as the “2019 UnidosUS Affiliate of the Year” and, as a result, to have had the opportunity to host fellow affiliates in our home. At this two-day event, our nonprofit welcomed Latino-led and serving organizational partners from urban and rural communities from all over the country.

We all had one focus: Supporting each other and further organizing to build Latino equity through wealth, place and power.

As Chief Strategy Officer at MEDA, I led the UnidosUS Affiliates convening, but, as always, this was a community effort. The goal of the convening was not only to showcase MEDA’s community development ecosystem and impact, but to also build momentum for the national Latino equity movement. That includes capacity building by: sharing how MEDA has developed each strategy, with tangible tips and tools that others can use in their communities; and sharing lessons learned from challenges and works in progress, relating how have we overcome and/or what steps we are taking to course correct. We were thrilled to welcome guest presenters and partners, such as: Alicia Villanueva, CEO of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas; Carolina Martinez, CEO of CAMEO; Orson Aguilar, Executive Director of UnidosUS’ Action Fund; and Sara Matlin, Senior Bilingual Counsel of the Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy initiative.

MEDA’s Chief Strategy Officer Lucy Arellano Baglieri

We have a specific focus on 2020, with this being such a crucial year for our community: Now is the time to step into our power and fight back against the constant racist attacks we face on a daily basis. MEDA is also committed to coalition building to pivot from reactive community action to proactive strategies that showcase our community’s assets. Building coalition also presents opportunities for partnerships, fund development, best practice exchange, advocacy and collective impact. MEDA and convening attendees are excited to continue to leverage the UnidosUS network for technical assistance, access to capital and political connections to capitalize on the Latino and immigrant community’s inherent strengths for wealth, place and power-building — for decades and generations to come.

Twelve sessions throughout the event featured lively conversations and peer best practice exchange, with topics that included:

  • Generational wealth-building continuum
  • Community ownership and cultural placekeeping
  • Scaling Latino-led CDFIs
  • Establishing and mobilizing a 501(c)(4)
  • Data and evaluation’s role in movement-building

Throughout the event, and documented in the closeout session, there were more than 25 action commitments made—by attendees, by MEDA and by UnidosUS. For example, many attendees committed to taking bolder approaches in their communities, MEDA committed to continuing to share its strategies and UnidosUS committed to continuing to make policy and resource connections.

After this convening, we are even better positioned to make 2020 a year of fostering a national movement of building Latino equity through wealth, place and power!

Last session of the Peer Exchange, “Looking Ahead and Closing Remarks.”

Do not miss this two-pager convening recap as well. We thank MEDA for hosting and opening their neighborhood center to our Affiliate Network, and we look forward to continuing working with our all of them to empower our community.

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