MCN is thrilled to welcome our new public policy advocate to the team, Ileana Mejia!
Recently, we interviewed Ileana (she, her, hers
) to learn more about her background, passions, and what she is excited to bring to her role.
1. What led you to a career in the nonprofit/public policy field?
I started a career in public policy because of the racial and gender disparities that exist within this nation and specifically in this state. I have experienced gender and racial inequities so to live it and to also see it play out in my community is beyond frustrating. When I was an undergrad, I was taking classes that focused on criminal justice issues and I felt overwhelmed and disgusted with the stats and the lived experiences of black and brown girls and boys. I realized that my career plan of being a clinical psychologist was not for me and that advocating for equitable policies and systems change was my future. I chose this field because I want to lift up my community and achieve black liberation. None of us are free until all of us are. Lifting up voices, that have been historically left out of policy decisions that directly influence them, is extremely important to me. I believe that advocating around equitable policy is an effective way to decrease disparities and build a stronger community.
2. Tell us about a Minnesota nonprofit that you admire.
I admire the nonprofit Hope Community! The different programs they have and the impact they’re making in the community is powerful. From community organizing for racial equity in Minneapolis parks to providing affordable housing to building community power in youth programming, they do it all and they do it well! The leadership at Hope Community is truly amazing and I am honored to have the privilege to work with that organization on a few different projects.
3. What are you most excited about now that you’re working for MCN?
I am excited to gain hands on policy experience at the state level! I’ve had the opportunity to do evaluation work at a charter school authorizer, write policy briefs on E-12 education, and do community organizing around systems change, so I am super happy to use my policy skills to increase nonprofit’s advocacy capacity!
4. Which Hogwarts house would you belong to?
I would definitely be in Hufflepuff! I was told that by 3 different extreme Harry Potter fans – so I believe it!
Be sure to read more about Ileana's background over on her bio page, and say hello next time you see her at an MCN event!