Maria Luz L. Torre is ranked #7 of 69
As one of the founding organizers of Parent Voices I believe that all children need a good start w public investment & a caring community.
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My political story
I came to this country in 1990 as an exchange visitor sponsored by Asia Foundation to do a US Environmental Policy Tour. After graduating from law school, I worked as a paralegal in the legal defense office of an environmental organization the Haribon Foundation and a year later became the Advocacy and Networking Coordinator. for the organization. My last campaign was to pass the Total Commercial Log Ban Bill. The forest cover in the Philippines was dangerously low and the fragile ecosystem was hemorrhaging. In that campaign we were pitted against commercial loggers, their armed goons, the military and the Speaker of the House who himself was a logger. It was not a safe time to be be anti-commercial logging. In 1992 I went back to the US and applied for political asylum. It has been 23 years since then. I am now a US citizen doing parent organizing and advocacy work for children's services, particularly child care and addressing childhood poverty via the state and city budget process. The constituents I work with are low to moderate income working parents with young children. I have been awarded the Shining Star Award for my child care advocacy and organizing, a US EPA Environmental Protection Award for our Parent Voices work in cleaning up the air emission in school buses in the SF Unified School District and a Building Parent Movement Award by the Bay Area PLAN. Organizing and advocacy is not just a job for me but a commitment to social justice and environmental protection. My work in the last 20 years has been dedicated to giving all children a good start and a fair start in life by fighting for public investment in services that support young families especially access to quality child care, good health care and a safe environment to grow up in. .
Why I deserve a Netroots Nation Scholarship
Nobody gets rich doing community organizing, so I need your support to be able to attend Netroots Nation 2015 and get recharged being with like-minded individuals, sharing our experiences, learning from each other and being able to network to build our power in out fight for a more equitable and just society. I also am eager to learn the latest technology and effective strategies in social media advocacy and how we can effectively break down the monopoly of the 1%. I attended NN12 and I never attended a more progressive, productive and inspiring conference in my entire life as an activist. Thank you for your support.
What first inspired me to get involved
I grew up in a political hot volcano - the Philippines during Martial Law. I did my first political speech at an election rally that my father was emceeing when I was 7 years old. A few months later Martial Law was declared. I majored in Political Science for my undergraduate degree and was elected as one of the Student Governors in the University of the Philippines (UPV-CAS). I started blogging because my organizing work required it :-), but it came naturally to me.
The blog post I am most proud of
It was an event called Child Watch Tour. We invited the media, elected officials and funders to do a tour of child care settings during the Week of the Young Child. One of our notable guest was Congresswoman Pelosi who joined us on the bus trip to visit a preschool, 2 child care centers and a family child care home. NPR did a feature story of the event and we were broadcast nationwide. We were getting calls from as far as Ohio and Atlanta. (NPR April 2003)
More about my political involvement
I am a Board Member of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth (was President for the last 6 years until Dec 2015) where I started as a parent advocate for youth in 1996. I am a chair of the San Francisco Health Plan Member Advisory Committee and am a Consumer representative in the San Francisco Health Authority. The latest campaign I am involved in with California Partnership is "Breaking Down the Wall of Poverty". Being a part time organizer since the recession in 2010 is a misnomer, because organizing work is never part- time. It is like a marriage -I am stuck with it 24-7. So beyond the paid hours, the rest of my work are volunteer hours.
How I've gotten others involved
As Parent Voices organizer, I manage three Facebook pages: Parent Voices SF(community), Parent Voices San Francisco (education) and It Takes A Village to Raise a Child (community). I also manage the Parent Voices_SF twitter account.
Why I think participation in the netroots is important
Participation in Netroots Nation is important because change doesn't happen in isolation - we need to connect and build our power, learn from each other and build a movement for systems change.
My Twitter manifesto on online activism
Online activism works because it is communication at its fastest & widest reach. Knowledge is power!
If I could design a bumper sticker it would say:
VOTE, it's power!
My wild idea for a cool new action
Dear Congress: Parents earning minimum wage are barely making ends meet, let alone pay for child care. We urge you to update the minimum wage and to increase the child care budget so that all children will grow in safe learning environments while their parents are earning a living.
I am a