August 27, 2014
Lourdes “Lulu” Matute is a second year student at City College of San Francisco majoring in Political Science. Lulu is a spoken word activist and has a heart for people of color in underprivileged communities. A champion for change, Lulu is committed to making sure that everyone is involved in and has access to the political process.
Interning at PowerPAC+
I’m interning at PowerPAC+, a national political action committee focused on engaging the multiracial majority in democratic processes to champion social justice and its advocates on all levels of government. While working at the intersection of race and politics in America, I have seen the potential that can come from building the political power of our communities.
Tell us more about your role at PowerPAC+
I have the unique opportunity of using technology and multiple media platforms to amplify the work of people like Fannie Lou Hammer, Frederick Douglass and more contemporary activists like Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
Currently PowerPAC+ is working with the Organization for Black Struggle in Ferguson, MO to create a lasting change that can reflect in all parts of our country. Real change can only come about when we participate in electing our leaders and representatives who then elect our officers and make decisions which will directly impact us.
What have you learned thus far from your internship?
I have learned to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What is impacting our communities? What do we want to change? How are we going to manifest that change? We are not too far removed from the Civil Rights era. People organized for our right to vote and yet, we don’t even show up. This internship gives me the opportunity to remind my generation of the legacy we have inherited and to hold my community accountable for our progress as a people.
Calling on All Omegas
We need more Omegas in the world of politics; we need lawyers, professors, doctors, conscious mothers and sons who are willing to realize their role in this world and participate in the continuation of the Civil Rights movement on all levels of existence.
To Ferguson and Back
The community knows her as Lulu Matute and Dr. Marshall refers to her as “little Angela Davis.” In the August edition of the Alive & Free newsletter we featured Lourdes “Lulu” Matute in the collegian intern spotlight. We covered her work at PowerPAC+, a national political action committee focused on engaging the multiracial majority in democratic processes to champion social justice.
Shortly after the interview, Lulu traveled to Ferguson, MO to document the state of the community after the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. She traveled 35 hours on a bus from San Francisco with Black Life Matters, an organization dedicated to the betterment of the African American community.
Lulu says that her journey to social justice began in Chicago in a greenhouse. While in high school there, she was challenged by an art instructor to question everything, to learn her history, and to contribute to a community garden.
The opportunity to participate in an urban agricultural program was enlightening. We grew our own food and educated the community as we focused on food justice.
Lulu says that planting her first seed and watching it sprout impacted her mentally and spiritually.
To eat what I planted caused an awakening and an epiphany happened in the greenhouse. It was my first experience with planning and organizing.
From that greenhouse Lulu’s passion for social justice, civil rights and organizing grew.
I saw there was potential in organizing and being solution oriented.
Lulu is all about doing the work and moving forward and her work at PowerPAC+ here in San Francisco and Ferguson exudes that.
What did Ferguson teach you about yourself?
One thing I learned for sure is that organization is key and not to react in the moment. As a Latina I respected the fact that it was a “black space” and how important it is to create an alliance. We have to unite and show up because being there and engaging is important. Ferguson taught me the meaning of solidarity and to be okay with being uncomfortable.
What do you want the world to know about the city of Ferguson?
I want folks to know that the conditions there are very important. Mass media focused on the negativity of the people but we need to focus on the people and their potential. The people don’t trust the system but they are interested and have the power to shift the political power.
How has your experience shaped the way you will organize moving forward?
I will focus on the healing process. It is an important part of restoring faith and hope. I think my purpose in Ferguson was to listen and heal with them. The human element of organizing cannot be brushed off.
There is something to be learned through Lulu’s time in Ferguson for all who she encounters and reaches as an organizer. You can get a glimpse of her journey through a series of photos and a short film documenting the trip by using the links below. To see and hear from Lulu watch her interview on the Street Soldiers Radio show the additional link below.
Ferguson: Moment to Movement Film
Photos from Ferguson
Street Soldiers Radio Show Interview