At WSCO, we know that building community power is work that spans generations, and that to sustain this important work, we must also take time to invest in our wellbeing. We are proud to share that after many years of tireless organizing, our Executive Director Monica Bravo is embarking on a well-deserved sabbatical through the end of September of this year.
Community members Joy Sorensen Navarre and Ned Moore are stepping up as interim co-Executive Directors for the summer, with additional support from Malik Holt-Shabazz.
“Monica's leadership of WSCO has been steadfast, transformative and powerful,” reflected Ned Moore. It is so important for leaders to take the time to reflect, recharge and renew in order to come back with a fresh perspective. I'm grateful to Monica for setting this example for other movement leaders, and grateful to WSCO for being supportive of this sabbatical time for her.”
Our staff and board will continue with all activities as planned. Stay up to date by checking out our events calendar and blog, and follow @wscnonow on Facebook and Instagram; click here if you’d like to connect directly with our team members.
Pictured above: WSCO staff and board members celebrating Juneteenth on the West Side. Left to right: Linda Vang, Strategic Operations Manager; Mayra Avila, Housing Justice Organizer; Monica Bravo, Executive Director; and Dell Paulsen, board member.
“It is an incredible honor to step into this role as Interim Co-Executive Director over the summer. Throughout my 20 year organizing journey, WSCO has often been a place that I've looked to for inspiration on what real neighborhood organizing looks like. Today WSCO is stepping up like never before thanks to an amazing team of community leaders and organizers with a shared vision for social change. WSCO is increasingly recognized locally and nationally as the model for place-based organizing for racial justice and equitable development at the neighborhood level. Over the years, I've developed a habit of always saying "Yes" to WSCO because WSCO always says "Yes" to community, "Yes" to justice, and "Yes" to the bold action necessary to create change- all things I deeply believe in.” – Ned Moore, Interim Co-Executive Director
Pictured above: WSCO organized a block party in the Southport Neighborhood at GAP. Back row, from left: WSCO staff Mayra Avila, Kai Andersen, Joshua Toor, Ellie Leonardsmith, and intern Khalil Williams; front row: GAP interns Izzy and Alex; West Side Tenant Union members Jess and Lucid; Interim Co-Executive Director Ned Moore and Programs and Organizing Manager Katrina Mendoza.
“The original people on this land, the Dakota Oyate, remind us to think in terms of 7 generations," reflected Joy Sorensen Navarre, Interim Co-Executive Director. “So when my grandkids say, ‘The West Side is the Best Side,’ their experience is informed by prior generations of Westsiders that planted community gardens, sponsored the Circulator, and supported youth activities like ‘Club’ and the Boosters. The work we do today here in the neighborhood has a powerful impact on future generations, and that is why it is my privilege to support WSCO during Monica’s sabbatical.”
Above: WSCO community leaders and board members meet with Councilmember Rebecca Noecker to advocate for the revitalization of Robert Street. Front row, from left: Myisha Holley, WSCO Board Chair, Debbie Luna, GillEtte Williams, WSCO board Vice Chair; Back row, from left: Mayra Avila, WSCO Housing Justice Organizer; Joy Sorensen Navarre, Interim Co-Executive Director; and WSCO board members Mylazia McPipe, Sharri Keller, Dell Paulsen, and Bill Johnson.