Congratulations on your promotion Emily! How are you feeling about the transition?
I am feeling a lot of emotions about it! I have some big shoes to fill *ahem Christina Soliz* but I also have such a supportive team around me to make sure I’m set up for success.
Being the East MI Community Organizer for the past two years has been an incredible, deeply transformative experience that I am still processing, but I’m so honored to have the opportunity to lead the organization in new ways!
What are you most proud to hand off to the next Detroit organizer?
When I first started here, I thought about what success would look like in my turf.
I thought it would be a good start towards something powerful if I could get women from the surrounding suburban communities to have honest conversations with black women around reproductive health, mobilizing together around a shared mission, and learning about one another’s lived experiences in the process.
In some ways, we have done that! We have more work to do, but I’m so proud that we have created a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming space for everyone to support one another and lift up our shared struggles so we can fight them together.
We have built a stronger base, and I’m excited for the new Detroit Organizer to add to our movement.
What advice do you have for community organizers who are just starting out?
KNOW your community. And the only way you get to know your community is by talking to people. Go to the small stuff, the big events, community meetings, town halls, networking happy hours, and art shows and introduce yourself.
Be respectful and aware of the space you occupy. Listen.
Don’t wait for people to come to you. You’ve got to meet them where they’re at and engage them in the work from there.
And always follow up! Whether it be an email, a text message, a phone call, a social media post. You have to keep the relationship going and invest in the people who are building with you.
And don’t forget to take time for yourself. It is important to have definitive boundaries. Don’t know what those are? This job definitely teaches you!
What are you most excited about working on as Program Manager?
I’m excited to dive into our Health Center Advocacy Program (HCAP) and develop new ways that we can connect our patients to our advocacy work.
I’m also looking forward to continuing to develop our storytelling program and working with our patient advocates and communities to host more storytelling training opportunities and special events!
What do you do when you’re not working?
I’m hanging out with my incredible and handsome husband and our 50 lb mutt!
I love to spend time with my sisters and my family. We like to chill on patios, grill, cook together, and laugh. I also enjoy not being around people and spending time outside.
My best friend and I like to go to Stoney Creek and listen to that same ole pop music playlist. Please send us new music suggestions.
Do you have any hobbies or weird talents?
I was actually just in an argument with my husband about this because he thinks a hobby would be good for my mental health.
I try to read. I like to go on long walks with the dog. Are those hobbies? I guess I’m currently looking for a hobby.
As far as weird talents, I’m great at popping blackheads, and I’ve been told I’m good at impersonating people.
How can our supporters get in contact with you?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Or you can message me on Facebook, but I’m slow at responding that way as others will tell you.