On July 14, 2018, I had the honor to participate in the appointment of my cousin Ludim Conde Garcia as the third Bishop of the Universal Christian Church, an organization elements of which date back to the ministry of my grandfather Reverend Feliciano Conde in the early 1950’s. Bishop Garcia carries on an important family tradition of providing leadership for the very people Christ honored and came to serve as described in the New Testament.
The event is significant as it represents the triumph of merit in a traditional setting where men abound. It also represents a sign that women increasingly have the task of providing leadership in every sector of American life.
I recently attended the UnidosUS national conference in Washington D.C. UnidosUS is the new name for The National Council of La Raza, a change that was adopted in time for the celebration of its 50th anniversary.
This, the most important advocacy Latino organization in the country, is led by Janet Murgia from Kansas. Also evident is the leadership of women in the organization that carry out the year-around tasks so important to the future of the Latino community in America.
It has been some 28 years since women as a group began to assert themselves in ways beyond just standing for gender justice. Their intellectual class has produced great literature and social commentary that reflect their experience in America and the changes they aspired to make.
Tarana Burke in 2006 introduced the “Me Too” concept into the American conversation. The phrase reignited the concept in 2016 as a #MeToo and as part of a general movement to make their male counterparts accountable for the treatment of women in the work place and elsewhere in life.
Time Magazine recognized that fact by naming women in its Person of the Year edition published on December 18, 2017. It seems that the disappointment caused by the election loss of Hilary Clinton drove many to be more forceful and press on to eventual victory in other political opportunities.
Among the opportunities driven to success was the recent Democratic primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a New York district considered safe in November. She challenged and defeated Joseph Crowley, “a 19-year incumbent and Queens political stalwart who had not faced a primary challenger in 14 years.”
Representative Crowley was the “number 4 Democrat in the House of Representatives and had been favored to ascend to the Speaker’s lectern if his [Party] retook the lower chamber in the fall.” Ocasio-Cortez victory is also important because at 28-years old she represents the new political leadership provided by women and Millennials.
As a matter of fact, I had a conversation with a group of emerging Latino Millennial leaders that sought some ideas on finding the leverage necessary to be heard in social and political circles. My advise was that they should seek to find support and partnership with women leaders that have already found an effective voice in the country.
My expressed feelings to Bishop Garcia in this regard were rather the same but from the other side of the relationship. The Church and organization has a significant and strong membership contingent of young families.
The strength of her leadership over time will largely depend on the motivation of those young people to carry out the sacred mission to transform the world for the benefit of mankind. Women and Millennials coming together also have the power and capability to keep our country and democratic experiment alive and well.