Meet 2018 NGen Award Finalist Joseph McKellar
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Voting is open for the 2018 NGen Leadership Award winner through Thursday, September 20 at 11:59pm PDT.
All six finalists have amazing track records of collaboration and making a significant impact in the communities they serve. And they’re pretty incredible individuals, too!
We’re giving each finalist the opportunity to tell you a bit more about themselves and what’s important to them.
So here’s your chance to get to know Joseph McKellar with PICO California – who is working to develop leadership and build capacity for civic engagement in communities throughout California.
Q: Who or what most inspires you – and why?
JM: I am inspired by the people in our communities experiencing the pain of poverty, racism, exclusion, incarceration, and patriarchy who are volunteering every day to lead others into righteous resistance and creating spaces where radical kinship and exquisite mutuality can be experienced.
Q: What does changemaker mean to you?
JM: I think that changemakers are the modern-day prophets who have the courage and moral conviction to boldly denounce injustice in all its forms, and to announce a radically hopeful future where nobody is left outside of the circle of human concern. I believe changemakers are the midwives of a new story in America that calls each one of us into the highest, most expansive, most generous versions of ourselves — to be the salt and light that our country needs in this dark moment.
Q: Other than the announcement of the winner of the NGen Leadership Award, what are you most looking forward to at Upswell?
JM: I’m very excited about Upswell’s “Public Square” because I’m hungry for spaces to achieve balance and serenity in a moment of great upheaval, when changemaking work can feel overwhelming. I’m grateful for the opportunity, in the midst of building new relationships and feeding my imagination, to take a few minutes to practice mindfulness and draw upon inner wisdom, and to resist the constant activity and overwork that too often defines our sector, at Upswell’s Public Square.
Q: What is the most personally meaningful action/protest/campaign that you have participated in?
JM: Coming from a family of immigrants from Michoacán and Mazatlán Mexico, I feel deeply grateful to have helped lead the campaign to pass The California Values Act (Senate Bill 54) in 2017, which today is keeping thousands of immigrant families together and protected from the deportation machine. Our campaign is helping to elevate the public narrative about immigrants from one characterized by scapegoating and punishment to a narrative rooted in love and inclusion.
Q: In one sentence, how would you capture your core values?
JM: My abuelita (my grandmother) taught me to live my life by three core values informed by her Mexican Catholic faith tradition, which I strive to embody as well as she did: to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my Creator.