A Message from Executive Director Elvis Méndez
I’m writing to tell you that I will soon be leaving my role as Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor.
But maybe more importantly, I’m writing to thank you for allowing me the enormous privilege of working with you to build power for working-class communities across Massachusetts.
Neighbor to Neighbor is a vital and precious touchstone of our state’s movement infrastructure, and it has been an honor and a joy to help guide it these past few years.
Three years ago, I assumed the Directorship of Neighbor to Neighbor alongside the amazing Andrea Nyamekye. I had a six-month-old baby at home, the pandemic had just started, the possibility of a Trump re-election was very high, and every week seemed to announce another senseless killing of a Black and Brown person. I fretted about my daughter’s future, the challenges for our organization and our communities, and my own mental health and spirit.
One beautiful thing about organizing is that it inherently recognizes the reality of our interdependence. As an organization, the heartbreak of losing loved ones and the challenges of the preceding years had steeled us, and we knew to move forward, we needed to embrace the uncertainty together. So we did.
I am so proud to be part of a team that, despite the serious challenges of the past few years, continued to grow together. We underwent organization-wide transformations, deep internal reflection about our place in the movement ecosystem, and built up a team that is stronger now than when we began.
Of course, our community is at the core of that transformation.
I am forever grateful to have been in the graceful presence of Noemi Arguinzoni, to have shared some laughs and good struggle with Adam Gomez, to have experienced the community and brotherhood Jafet Robles built, to have knocked doors with Carlos Rodriguez, to have joked alongside Chrys Edwards at the end of a phonebank shift.
Whenever the noise and clutter of our political punditry gets too loud, or you get too concerned about some abstract campaign or narrative, stuck on too many zooms and grand theories – remember the simple beauty of a knock on a door, or a call to a neighbor, can ground you in what really matters.
Neighbor to Neighbor is a joyful, loving, rooted, and visionary force for change in Massachusetts. As I know it has for many of you, this community continues to keep the fire of hope alive.
Like virtually every organizer over the last 100 years, I’ve asked myself (continuously) some version of the question: Where is the most strategically useful place for me to contribute my efforts?
Right now for myself, I’m not sure what the future holds. Now my family is even bigger, and I am leaving this role with a profound sense of gratitude – to the amazing Board I’ve had the pleasure to serve under, to the staff team I’ve been honored to guide, and to you, our beloved community.
Over the next few months, I’ll be working with our fantastic Board Chairs, Eliud Alcala and Braxton Campbell, in helping steward the organization into its next chapter. In the meantime, please check out our job posting and forward it to anyone who would be great for the position or who knows great people that might want to apply.
As I figure out my own next steps, I can already say that I am looking forward to our paths crossing again.