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2011 Leader Watch: Gloria Walton Reflects

Each year, Liberty Hill recognizes members of our extended community as “Leaders to Watch.” In January 2011, we interviewed our 2011 Leaders to Watch about their goals and concerns, then checked in with them throughout the year. In late December, we caught up by phone and email for their year-end reflections.

Our 2011 Leaders to Watch were Tammy Bang Luu of Bus Riders Union/Labor Community Strategy Center (LCSC)  Ari Gutierrez and Eddie Martinez of Latino Equality Alliance, Gloria Walton of  Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), Isella Ramirez of East Yard Coalition for Environmental Justice and Xiomara Corpeño of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

  GDW at a rallycrop

Gloria emailed us during a year-end vacation from her first year as Executive Director of SCOPE, which coincided in part with her time as a Leader to Watch.

"Conventional wisdom says, 'It takes a village to raise a child.'  In a humorous yet truthful sense, I learned that it takes a movement to support an Executive Director and its organization.  If I had to choose one phrase to sum up my first year as the Executive Director of SCOPE, it would be ‘THANK YOU!’ 

Thank you to Liberty Hill for providing a Leader to Watch platform.  Thank you to everyone I reached out to for help and guidance, all of whom without hesitation invested time and energy with me:  Anthony Thigpenn, Torie Osborn, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Michele Prichard, Kafi Blumenfield, Stewart Kwoh, Congresswoman Bass, Latonya Slack. Being an Executive Director is a position that I am not quite convinced anyone can really be prepared for: raising an organizational budget, fiscal oversight and management, board and organizational development (strategic planning), program management, staff management, AND being an internal and external leader. It definitely takes a certain type of person and character, all of which means nothing, without the movement of people and organization to provide support. I am a trained community organizer and one of the first things I learned is that relationships are the cornerstone.  Being an E.D. simply reinforces that notion.  In 2012, I will continue to walk with energetic integrity, love, self discipline, idealistic vision, intention and will power for my Self, my family, Community. 

The following illustrates the breadth and scope of SCOPE’s accomplishments in 2011. During the past year, SCOPE members:

  • Contacted 11,630 voters in June and identified 8,853 supporters of a Department of Water & Power investment in energy efficiency and contacted 11,335 voters in November and identified 8,854 supportive voters on raising taxes on the very rich to bring balance and fairness to California's tax system. 
  • Coordinated the mobilization of more than 50 organizations and 600 people at a rally at City Hall and 1,500 at the downtown federal building rally about the local impact of HR1 (federal budget cuts).
  • Held 25 leadership development events that more than 600 members attended, including a Jobs Forum that featured Congresswoman Karen Bass as the speaker and a worker and community panel that reflected key local issues and meaningful solutions for Los Angeles.
  • Completed a multi-year campaign that resulted in the passage of the Green Retrofit and Workforce ordinance. Steps included (1) securing $26 million to date to implement the retrofit project (2)  overseing the implementation of the green jobs pilot program to retrofit 22 city; there are plans to retrofit an additional 55 buildings (3) developing a partnership with LAANE to push for a new energy efficiency program at the DWP that creates jobs accessible to low-income communities of color.
  • Strengthened the capacity of 13 social justice groups across the nation to build and enhance their civic engagement programs. Provided technical assistance and training to five national social justice groups. Trained SCOPE members in Internet and word-processing skills through the organizations' Computer Grassroots Training Institute. 
  • With Liberty Hill, convened three meetings with more 30 Black organizers in Los Angeles to discuss ways to strengthen black organizing infrastructure and how to create and cultivate a new generation of Black leadership and organizers, as well as how to support and strengthen the capacity of existing leadership."