Justice Seeker of the Year:
Mercedes took the lead to successfully build a sustainable coalition of like-minded local orgs to work under the national Movement for Black Lives.
Mercedes is the Texas Organizing Director for Working Families Party, a grassroots, multiracial political party of working people coming together across our differences to make our nation work for the many, not the few. She previously worked for Local Progress, a project of the Center for Popular Democracy, working with community organizations and local progressive electeds across Texas to pass progressive policy solutions at the municipal level. She is a strategist with the Electoral Justice Project, a national table with the Movement for Black Lives (Black Lives Matter). She is the former Special Assistant to the President at Paul Quinn College, a historically Black College in Dallas, Texas. Under her management, she assisted in launching the African American Leadership Institute, a Dallas-based think tank housed at Paul Quinn, for the study and advancement of public policy, economic development, civic engagement, and leadership development as it relates to the African American community and Black elected officials throughout the state of Texas. She previously worked for Young People For (YP4), a program of People for the American Way Foundation, in Washington, DC. She developed a critically conscious curriculum for strategic youth leadership development training and oversaw their national civic engagement and voter mobilization campaigns with many of her projects in North Carolina to combat voter suppression.
She is a member of the Dallas chapter of BYP100 and represents the national organization as a Co-chair of the C4 Board of Directors. She is an experienced and respected voice on political strategy, racial justice advocacy, effective progressive leadership training, grassroots organizing, and public policy. Her life’s work builds at the intersections of electoral politics and social justice developing socially conscious young leaders in marginalized communities to combat inequities with a global lens.
Mercedes received her Master’s in Public Administration and Public Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington and her BA in Political Science from the University of North Texas.