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June 23, 2021

Movement Maker Profiles: Logan Meza

Logan Meza is a young Afro-Colombian, non-binary/trans person and one of the Interim Co-Executive Directors for S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective, which supports new leaders that have “lived and breathed” the inequalities of our legal, educational, and economic systems. They are also a founding member of the South FL Mutual Aid Coalition.

They are also a founding member of the South FL Mutual Aid Coalition.

Who are your people?

My people are resilient and not respectable–in the sense of not adhering to respectability politics and truly just choosing to live an authentic life, regardless of what implications may come with that or backlash. Folks who are trans, folks who are non-binary, folks who live unapologetically.

What brings you to this work?

Originally, what brought me to the work was trying to find a purpose. I had to actively look for a purpose after my mom passed away about seven years ago when I was 16 years old. I still have some mental health challenges, but then I was very deep in it, and I needed to find some reason to stay alive. If it wasn’t going to be school, because to hell with the Magnet program, it had to be something. I got politicized in 2014, after the murder of Mike Brown.

Within the last couple of years, I would probably say the last three years or so, that purpose began to shift a little bit. It went from being organizing because I need to find a purpose to fully embodying and understanding what does it actually mean to organize and making the active decision that I’m going to organize because I want to see liberation in my lifetime. If I can’t see it in my lifetime, I want it to be easier so when I’m an ancestor to the folks who are coming after me, they’re able to get closer to liberation in their lifetime.

It went from I’m horribly depressed and I want to die because I watched my mom violently die, slowly violently die of cancer, to I’m doing it because we are owed liberation. We are owed to be able to live a full life where we can thrive and have everything that we need.

What aspect of your movement work brings you the most joy?

I think working with youth is something that definitely brings me a lot of joy. I remember how I felt when I was a youth organizer and being like, “Oh my God, these spaces, they are so cool. Everything is so cool.” Even encountering my first movement heartbreak, I remember all of that. When I was dedicating myself to working with youth and being like, “Let’s figure out what’s your jam together? Do you like social media? Are you an artist? Do you like public speaking or are you the type of person that’s silent but in the background?”

Just helping folks realize that there is no one way to do anything. That if you’re very passionate about something and you feel like something is your calling that there’s always some type of answer for it. Walking with folks as they figure their stuff out, that is something that brings me a lot of joy. Especially because when it comes to a lot of youth programming, oftentimes youth labor is very exploited. It’s also really great to be like, don’t let these people just tell you that you’re about to do all this canvassing for an unpaid internship, or don’t let all these people tell you that you need to do all of these hours of data entry and you don’t have food in your fridge.

What also brings me a lot of joy about the work that I do is the cultural aspect of it. Developing norms together, figuring out, “Okay, we’re not going to call the police so then what do we do as a group?” Even when there’s a rally, getting on drums and creating a beat. That type of cultural practice is something that also brings me a lot of joy.

What moves are you making to end violence?

What I’m doing is trying to lay everything out on the metaphorical table. Being, for example, like, “Okay, we know that calling the police is dangerous and doesn’t work. If we’re not going to engage with the state, what else do we do?” Also, thinking a lot about how do we meet folks where they’re at so that way folks can make their own decision on what they want to be engaged in and at what level? Oftentimes, I’ve heard that folks feel like they don’t have enough information to make a decision or even sometimes organizing spaces can be very elitist.

Just keeping it 110% real. What does that intentional relationship building look like so that folks are able to just be real with each other and relate with each other? We might not speak the same language or look the same or we may not walk in this world the same way but my liberation is tied to yours. Therefore, what do I have to do to be able to consider you a comrade and vice versa?

How would you describe your leadership strengths?

I think that my leadership style is really like, “Here’s the sandbox, go play in it.” In my leadership style, I love to be able to create containers so that I can be like, “All right, the outside world is horrible and you might have some questions or whatever that you may have been too afraid to ask. Let’s create some norms, let’s set up this framework. Here’s this container, be messy, get it all out, and then we’ll clean it up together. If we’ve broken anything, we’ll restore it together.”

I’m always trying to make sure that folks’ wellness is at the center, because when I came into organizing, I came into it very fast and furious. I didn’t think about a wellness plan or a safety plan or maybe I shouldn’t be answering emails at 3:00am. I didn’t think about those boundaries, because I was raised with no boundaries. When that transitioned over into organizing, of course, two years later, I burned the fuck out. Based on my experiences, I’ve been like, “What did I need in terms of guidance and leadership that would have made my life easier. What would have been great to find out ahead of time? What practices would have been great?” I use my own experience to shape how I interact and approach people.

What keeps you in the work?

Seeing the seeds that are being planted, and seeing that they’re beginning to sprout. I remember when I heard that they closed the Fulton County Jail, my mind was blown. They said that that was 10 years in the making, and I was like, “Wow, y’all planted this seed 10 years ago and here we go a whole ass tree.” It’s imagining what is possible and planting those seeds so that it can eventually become possible. On those days where I wake up and I’m just like, “Everything is fucking terrible and I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Thinking about, “Wow, when I’m going to be an ancestor, wherever the hell I’ll be, hopefully, what I planted will grow into a tree that can help nourish folks and help sustain the movement, until we actually achieve liberation and folks are able to chill, live and thrive and just do art, and just be together, be together in genuine community.” That’s really what keeps me going in the work, just the long term future vision that this will all be worth it someday.

Art by lizar_tistry