The Legacy of Leadership: Ella Baker's Influence on Modern Advocacy With Executive Director Marlene Sanchez

Season 5, Episode 64,   May 22, 05:40 AM

We are incredibly honored to host Marlene Sanchez, the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. As the Executive Director of theElla Baker Center for Human Rights, Marlene is a proud San Francisco native, and Chicana, where she has spent more than 20 years building power with youth and formerly incarcerated people. Through her work, Marlene has created pathways to invest in the leadership of people directly impacted by the criminal legal system and helped center the voices of young people to bring youth justice. For the past decade, she has helped pass policies focused on youth justice, reproductive justice, LGBTQ discrimination, police accountability, and sentencing reform. Marlene came to community work at age 15 looking for employment and a way out of the juvenile justice system. She is the result of change through a resourced community. 

In this episode, we discuss how incarceration breaks families and communities apart and it’s not the answer to keeping communities safe.  The United States prison system has the highest incarcerated population of brown and black men, and the legacy of prison systems stems from slavery and economic exploitation that this country was built upon. (Author, Nicole Hannah Jones mentions within the first chapters of her book, The 1619 project,) By holding accountability of elected officials, for housing, jobs and healthcare, instead of increasing funding to police and prison job creations, the Ella Baker Center has created impactful policy reform, recognizing their instrumental role in the passage of the Racial Justice Act. As we transition to the crucial topic of voting rights, we spotlight the advocacy groups like All of Us or None and Initiate Justice, tirelessly championing the electoral voice of the incarcerated. Ella Baker herself was the champion of civil rights and justice by fighting racisim and organizing the first non-violent youth movements, for the civil rights movement and championing our power to vote.  Marlene shares with us an open invitation to join the Ella Baker Center's newly launched membership program, starting May 22nd, here in Oakland California and online, to provide opportunities for you to participate or support their upcoming political organizing initiative and “Get The Vote Out” training programs for the summer of 2024. Marlene is a testament to the power of community activism in shaping a democracy that truly represents us all. Gracias Marlene.