2020 Board Candidate: Citlalli Velasquez

Occupation

Community housing organizer

Education

Georgetown University -BA

Community Involvement

Organize tenants to exercise their rights when facing threats to their housing.

Why are you interested in serving on the Board?

I’m interested in serving on the board because I believe that access to quality, healthy and ethically made food is a human right. Specifically as we find ourselves in a global pandemic where people across the globe but particularly in our very own community find themselves experiencing food insecurity, I believe it to be our moral duty to respond as a Food Coop that is committed to diversity and equity to our communities’ needs.

Why are co-ops in general and TPSS Co-op in particular important to you?

Co-operatives in general are particularly important to me because they model my values in practice as it relates to alternative and more equitable economies that are more representative of a communities needs.

What volunteer or professional experiences have you had with other co-operatives or organizations that will help you strengthen the TPSS Co-op Board?

My professional experience consists of organizing and providing technical assistance to limited equity housing cooperatives and other tenant associations across DC. I have vast experience working with diverse communities facilitating democratic decision making processes with low-income communities with their housing co-ops, tenant associations, and the DC Tenants Union.

What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?

My favorite co-operative principle is democratic decision making, having a lot of experience facilitating these processes it is a lot harder in practice than people believe it be. It has made me realize that we do not in fact practice this principle very much even in a “democratic” society. Being part of democratic decision processes feels empowering and at once challenging, and the more we practice it the better we will become at collaborating and being a more just society through hearing and empathizing with our communities.

Describe your experience with financial oversight, particularly of a business or organization's budget and financial performance.

I don’t have as much financial oversight experience as I do with other aspects of co-operative matters. I have some experience with housing co-operative financial profit & loss statements.

Why are diversity and equity important to you, and how do these principles show up in your life?

Diversity and equity are not just buzz words for me they are a lived reality. As a first generation daughter of immigrant parents I believe it is mine (and everyone's) moral imperative to make this society a better place than my parents found it. A better place for them to live in. I always bring a perspective of centering the most vulnerable and at risk in all the work that I do particularly in housing and helping tenants organize around threats of displacement and to their health/safety.