“Leadership is a process, not a position,” said Marco Davis, President and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI). This belief is why he’s spent his career developing young Latinos to be the stewards of society. Davis arrived at CHCI after decades working in leadership development, community advocacy and civic engagement.
Prior to joining CHCI, Davis was a partner at New Profit, a national nonprofit philanthropy, where he led an effort to create a more equitable social sector and served as lead on diversity and inclusion efforts. Before that, he served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
His most recent mission? Equipping leaders to address society’s current ills. “My greatest fulfillment comes from helping others – especially young people – reach their full potential and achieve impact in their communities and the world beyond.” It’s this soul-filling purpose that fuels Davis’s work.
Ramon Contreras is not your average, twenty something college grad. You see, Contreras found his “why” well before that.
Contreras call to action came when he lost a longtime friend to gun violence in his Harlem neighborhood. As he told MariaShriver.com “His death came right around the time of the Parkland school shooting, where I witnessed heightened advocacy by primarily white students. This made me feel like there needed to be a voice for colored communities, so I started speaking out.” The result was co-founding, Youth Over Guns. The organization’s mission is to combat gun violence in Black and Brown communities.
Since its inception, Youth Over Guns has had quite the impact. Most notably, the now infamous march over the Brooklyn Bridge, where Contreras gathered with thousands of youth activists, carrying a casket symbolizing the deaths in Black and Latinx communities. Currently, Ramon has turned his sight on political organizing with Organizing Corps. 2020, which gives young people skills to work on the 2020 general election.
On the issue of increasing voter engagement in Black and Brown communities Contreras also told MariaShriver.com “You connect voting to real issues that underserved communities experience. Unfortunately, a lot of politicians’ platforms don’t connect with our issues, which is why I believe we need more people of color in positions of power in government.”
With experience and passion demonstrated thus far, Contreras is well on his way to becoming one of those people of color in a position of power!