BISC’s Executive Director, Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, Speaks on Her 3 Year BISCiversary
When I took on this role 3 years ago, I made a promise to myself to be unapologetically me. To stop letting other people’s expectations make me feel small. To lead with my heart and clarity of vision. To name exactly who I was fighting for and lift up the voices of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian & Pacific Islander people. To remember the ancestors, they have my back. By doing this, I hoped to inspire other women, people of color, folx with immigrant heritage, and queer people to take the leap to lead because we are exactly what the progressive movement needs.
Now, that is easier said than done. Claiming space in a place that was not designed for you brings up imposter feelings and resistance. Of not being enough. I constantly say my mantra: I was born worthy.
Those who were not ready for my type of leadership resisted. A lot. They told me I strayed from the mission of the organization. That I was not strategic. Questioned my emphasis on equity and justice.
Now, 3 years in, I am hitting my stride. I am standing fully into my power. I feel the impact of my vision of transforming ballot measures to truly be the People’s tool with equity at the center and liberation as our goal.
The reality is BISC is stronger than it has ever been. We’ve diversified and grown our funding. We have a growing staff that reflects the beauty of this world. We are transforming ballot measures through every step of the 360 lifecycle. Our partners tell us they feel seen and heard and those relationships are stronger. We lean into radical imagination and our focus remains on the future.
A future of collective liberation. Abolishing systems of oppression. Dismantling white supremacy. Centering equity and justice and tapping into the abundance that surrounds us. And if there is anything the last year has taught us — a future where all people are treated with dignity, seen for their humanity and thrive. Because we deserve it.
And by doing all of this we don’t just build power — we TRANSFORM it.
So let’s do it. Together.
Chris Melody Fields Figueredo
Executive Director, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center