We are excited to welcome Yahya Alazrak as RG’s next Executive Director!
After a nationwide search, we are thrilled that Yahya (they/them) moved into this new role as of September 13th, and are confident that they will lead RG with courage and vision as we continue to expand our organizational strength and capacity to work towards the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power.
Yahya is a longtime RG leader who has been on staff since 2015, serving as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizer and Coordinator of POC programs, and most recently as our Campaign Director. They have been a core part of key RG moments over nearly six years, helping to expand our campaign work in close partnership with the Movement for Black Lives and the Center for Popular Democracy, while also supporting local chapters and the staff move to a decentralized decision-making model, Collab.
Yahya combines a deep understanding of where RG is now with a clear vision for what is possible when we center relationships, focus on local power building and deepen our commitment to being in solidarity with poor and working-class movements fighting for social justice. We are excited to see Yahya embrace new levels of leadership as they collaborate with the board, staff, and members to build the next chapter of our work towards collective liberation for all. Throughout the remainder of 2021 and 2022, Yahya will work closely with our team, network, and movement leaders to guide RG’s strategic planning process. This process comes at a critical movement moment and important time for RG to think boldly and create a plan that is grounded in practical experience and aspirational vision in order to guide our work in the years to come. Stay tuned for opportunities to share your hopes and dreams for RG and to connect with Yahya as they listen to members across the country, through local gatherings and visits online and in real life where we can collectively envision the future of RG.
Yahya will be leading a strong and well-resourced organization thanks in no small part to the extraordinary leadership of RG staff and members, as well as our committed board. We want to thank our Interim Executive Director, Faisal Alam, and Interim Associate Director, Etta Monique, both of whom will be returning to their former roles on staff. Their leadership was critical in supporting RG through this period of transition. In addition, we want to express our immense gratitude to our Leadership Transition Committee composed of members of the board, staff, and the Strategies for Social Change team, who put in countless hours to guide our search process, as well as the full board, staff, and NMC members who participated in the final interviews.
In their final blog post as outgoing Executive Director, Iimay wrote “I have faith in our transformative vision and the strength of our relationships. Together we’ve built an incredible organization, and the work will continue to grow and change to meet the moment.” We’re thrilled to have Yahya at the helm to work alongside our organization’s many talented and capable leaders as we grow, change, and build a world where wealth, land, and power are shared.
I hope you will join us in welcoming Yahya and celebrating this exciting moment for new leadership!
Emily Duma and Crystal Middlestadt
RG Board Co-Chairs, on behalf of the Board of Directors
When I first joined staff six years ago, I was 24 years old and I was excited, overwhelmed, and a bit intimidated to be working for such an established organization.
In the years since, I have made this organization my political home and have felt this community’s investment in my leadership. I am extremely humbled and honored to be RG’s next Executive Director. It truly means so much to me to be entrusted with continuing to build RG’s power and deepen our impact.
The strength and rigor of this community have sharpened my skills and analysis as an organizer. I am grateful for the leadership and initiative of those who came before me and those who I will continue to work alongside. I’m thrilled for the National Member Council to be in its early stages of relaunching, and inviting members, board, and staff into shared governance. I am proud of, and glad for, the ways that RG has invested in our workplace to support the sustainability of our staff team and the implementation of our Collab shared governance model. Most of all, I am energized by all the organizing strategies we are moving: resource mobilization, the Redistribution Pledge, and our new Transformative Investing Principles; issue-based campaign work at the national and local levels, including coordination with our sister organization RG Action, and guided by our partnerships with the Movement for Black Lives and the Center for Popular Democracy; base-building and leadership development, including our growing base of BIPOC member-leaders; and narrative shift and culture change work. I am grateful to RG’s board for the combination of rigor and trust they have brought to their relationships with staff and members and I look forward to building with this amazing group.
I am also grateful for the leadership of Iimay Ho, our last Executive Director and the first young person of color with access to wealth to hold that role. It has been hard for me to find spaces that can hold the nuances and intersections of my experiences. I am a mixed-race (White and Arab-North African), mixed-class (Owning Class and Poor), non-binary person. On one side of my family, I am connected to a multi-million dollar family business in Morocco, and on the other, I am descended from settler-colonists and I have lived experience of poverty. Iimay’s leadership, alongside our community of young BIPOC with access to wealth, created a space for me to be proud of my complexity and to view it as the strength it is, to make space for celebration and mourning, but above all to seek justice.
When I first joined staff I was resistant to the idea of being a dues-paying member of my workplace. At the time, my politics as a worker were opposed to the idea of giving money to my employer. Shortly thereafter, I attended our Transformative Leadership Institute and met many of our members for the first time. In that space of visioning and skill-building, I realized the awesome potential of this organization to effect change at a deep level. This was an organization with a fierce base of members with disproportionate access to power who held an unwavering vision of a world beyond capitalism and white supremacy. The organizing potential was inspiring. I became a dues-paying member at that retreat.
That fire in my heart still glows when I think of what becomes possible when a generation of young people with access to wealth choose a different path than that of wealth and power hoarding. The opportunity ahead of us is to work with our partners to end the class system in the US. This journey will be long and we will need to learn and practice new and old ways of healing, being in relationship with each other and the world around us, and channeling our collective power for change. We cannot do this alone but we must do it. We owe it to ourselves and to our communities to practice, and demand, a liberated future.
I am bringing my years of experience as an organizer and systems thinker to this role. I am excited to fine-tune RG’s strategies – base-building and leadership development, narrative shift and culture change, resource mobilization, and issue-based campaigns – and to better integrate them towards greater power and impact. Above all, I see my role as continuing to build the leadership of RG and our members and to be a champion for our collective goals and ambitions.
I won’t have all the answers but I know that as a movement we will. I am committed to being bold, learning alongside all of you, and holding love at the center of it all.
I’m fired up for the years to come and invite you to recommit to this community and this political project. Right now, you can sign our redistribution pledge and take action for systemic change. After you’ve done that, I invite you to join RG as a dues-paying member or renew for the next five years and sustain this work through this important next phase.
With deep gratitude and belief that we will win,
RG Executive Director