We at CivNet are super excited to welcome Rachael Lorenzo on as our new Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator! Check out Rachael's story below:

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Rachael & her parents, Ryan and Melissa

I was born to a teenage mother and at that moment, she and I were set up for failure, both economically and socially. The statistics against us were staggering but she and my father were determined to make sure that no matter their age, they could provide for their family. That meant settling down in Laguna, New Mexico, where my father’s ancestral roots are. That experience of growing up on a reservation has shaped how I view love, community, and resilience.

Why love? I can see now that my parents love our people and our community so much that they participate in the community they live in, whether tribal government or in our tribal school system for example, because those are a few of the very real things that impact families just like theirs. The value of love impacts so many aspects of our life and how we fit into our communities.

Rachael & Rep. Angelica Rubio

I grew up loving politics. I remember crying on Election Day in 2000: I cried not because of party politics but because I learned early on that it was likely that partisan politics could harm my people. This was the moment my father began a decade long conversation with me that if I ever wanted to run for office, I should represent my people and my values while volunteering my time to candidates and causes I care about. After I left home to go to college in 2008, I threw myself into a presidential campaign and every other local campaign in Albuquerque. My parents would have the whole family volunteer time at Roadrunner Food Bank or Watermelon Ranch so I continued that tradition of giving my time, and always trying to keep in mind the love I have for my people and New Mexico. How can I give back to the state that has given so much to me? Those experiences shaped my views on what it means to give back to the community back home and in this place where I was beginning my adult life.

I found my niche in reproductive health and justice during the Respect ABQ Women campaign in 2013. The RAW campaign was a very successful effort to fight back against a dangerous anti-abortion ballot measure and I realized how important messaging and media was to not just reproductive justice but to politics and community organizing. I took this newfound understanding to graduate school: I was accepted into the University of New Mexico’s School of Public Administration, focusing on public health. I saw the disconnect between community organizing, political rhetoric, and the actual delivery of vital healthcare services and I wanted to figure out the best way to work across these sectors to improve the health outcomes for families throughout New Mexico. My vision for families to have the easy access to quality healthcare and to their representatives became more important than ever when I became a mother in 2012.

Why CivNet?

Charlie saw a need and has used his skills and knowledge to create CivNet. I believe in CivNet’s mission: empowering individuals to make change and collaborate across siloes. I have firsthand knowledge of how working in siloes can do more harm than good and how “Liking” an article does not necessarily equal a huge community presence in City Hall. I was raised to take action and work with new people, to gather as much information as I could to make an informed decision. Now, I want to take those shared values and turn it into something meaningful for Albuquerque. I want to work with you to help connect you to others who have similar interests and passions and turn that interest into real actions.