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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ” – César Chávez, UFW

Presente.org announces new Executive Director Matt Nelson, veteran organizer, to lead National Org.

Group continues to surge in growth and impact

Aug. 8, 2016

Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group, announced Matt Nelson as its new executive director. Nelson helped launch Presente in 2009, served as managing director of Presente for the past year, and is now taking over as executive director from Favianna Rodriguez and Oscar Chacón, who had served as interim executive directors. Rodriguez and Chacón will continue serving as board members of Presente.

“Matt is well known as a tireless, dedicated, courageous and generous leader who is unafraid to take on the most powerful corporations, government officials, police unions, and media giants in the country,” said Rodriguez. “He pours his heart and soul into the work of building a more just, equal and prosperous world for all of us.”

“Matt knows that to create lasting change, we need to create movements that are bigger than any one person or group,” said Chacón. “He is the kind of rare leader who knows how to be strategic, focused and effective without compromising our ideals and values. This combination of vision, strategy, and heart has shown up throughout his work as an activist and organizer.”

“Presente has an amazing team, an incredible community of members, and a powerful network of allies,” said Nelson. “Now more than ever, our work is vital to protect the rights, safety, and well-being of Latinx communities. At the same time, there are unprecedented opportunities to create meaningful and lasting power for Latinx people. Presente is uniquely positioned to meet these challenges, and I’m honored and thrilled to lead the organization forward.”

Nelson, a Colombian-born Midwesterner, is a veteran Latinx organizer with deep experience building grassroots power in Latinx communities. He has worked for years at the forefront of digital organizing, leading groundbreaking campaigns that have created real victories for Latinxs, Black people, refugees, workers, and other marginalized communities.

Inspired by his parents' deep commitment to justice and fairness, Nelson worked as a journalist at a bilingual newspaper, ran a pizzeria in Milwaukee's Southside, and worked for years as a grassroots organizer in Latinx and Black communities. He advocated for police accountability, the rights of refugees, and helped mobilize people for the massive immigrant rights marches in 2006. He also started several successful small businesses with innovative models that empower workers and give them ownership in the business.

Nelson helped lead ColorOfChange – the country’s largest Black online political organization – for five years. As Organizing Director, Matt led the organization's criminal justice, grassroots organizing, and member relations work, managing a team of campaign managers, associates, member services specialists, and contractors. He played a critical role in many of the organization’s significant victories, and his efforts dramatically expanded ColorOfChange’s membership and fundraising capacity. He also led ColorOfChange’s launch of several new online platforms for grassroots organizing and police accountability: IAmColorOfChange.org (now OrganizeFor), CopWatchNYC, and KilledByCops.

Just over a year ago, Nelson left his position at ColorOfChange to work on the first major book about the Ferguson Uprising – entitled "Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion” – and shortly thereafter became the Managing Director at Presente.

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Presente.org is the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group; advancing social justice with technology, media, and culture.