Meet 2018 NGen Award Finalist Stacy Stout
// 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 Stacy Stout with the City of Grand Rapids – who is taking steps to ensure that Grand Rapids, Michigan residents take full advantage of all the city has to offer.
Q: Who or what most inspires you – and why?
SS: Fierce women worldwide who risk their lives organizing and unapologetically fighting for freedom, justice, clean water, ancestral lands, and our planet inspire me. They push me to intentionally and strategically use my privilege, platforms, and positions to take risks and to leverage change.
Q: What does change-maker mean to you?
SS: Changemakers root their work in love of people and take personal and professional risks to expose inequitable power structures to co-create and help implement community solutions, lifting up those they serve. Changemakers do what they can to make the world better no matter how big or small their sphere of influence is.
Q: Other than the announcement of the winner of the NGen Leadership Award, what are you most looking forward to at Upswell?
SS: The opportunity to connect with and learn from people working throughout the country on their strategies to dismantle structural racism and uplift equity and resident voice is exciting. I also hope to visit with the other finalists to learn about their “why” of the work – what’s their journey leading them to be the advocates they are today and what keeps them focused and motivated?
Q: What is the most personally meaningful action/protest/campaign that you have participated in?
SS: Five years ago, I co-founded the Latina Network of West Michigan, in part, as a strategy to resist tokenism, the divide and conquer tactics of oppression, to elevate local Latina leadership, and shape a narrative that honors our power, importance, and diversity. Since then we have transitioned into a formal nonprofit, grown our membership from 30 to over 400 local Latinas, strategically advanced Latinas in leadership roles, award spotlights, and representation, and have also created intentional space for members to heal, strategize, learn, and dismantle our own internalized racism and bias.
Q: In one sentence, how would you capture your core values?
SS: I strive to live a life honoring the work and sacrifice of my ancestors through community organizing, speaking truth to power and creating spaces where people of color can heal and tap into their own power, so we can advance systems of change together.