Founder and outgoing NewFM Executive Director Gihan Perera offered his enthusiastic congratulations to his successor, Andrea Mercado, in an email sent to the organization’s members. 

Below is the text of that email. 

 

I am writing with great excitement, significant relief, and a lot of pride that Andrea Cristina Mercado will be the new Executive Director of the New Florida Majority. Andrea is a fantastic choice by the Board of Directors, and I have been really impressed by their diligence, wisdom, and clarity.

 

Andrea is a great fit for the organization, and her leadership will continue to build NewFM as one of the premier, cutting edge, racial justice political organizations in the country.  She is a tested organizer, a brilliant strategist, and she is committed to moving politics and building movement in Florida. Especially in these stark political times, Andrea brings energy, commitment, and light.  She has been deep in the immigrant rights movement, and she shares with me a strong commitment to build Black political power and infrastructure. She is an intersectional leader at the core, and she believes in grassroots power, scale, and the need to win for our communities.  Fundamentally, she knows that now is the time to step it up in the state of Florida, for all of us.

 

I have known Andrea for over 17 years. She grew up in South Florida, and got her start organizing at the Miami Workers Center before eventually co-founding and leading the National Domestic Workers Alliance as National Campaigns Director.  Despite knowing her for so long, I was blown away by her presence and skill through the recruitment and interview process.  Her eagerness for politics, her vision, and her experience in managing teams, campaigns, and budgets really impressed me.

 

It’s clear to me why the Board choose her to lead NewFM in our next stage of development. At NDWA, Andrea helped lead a multiracial membership organization that built social, economic and political power of domestic workers, many of whom were Black and Latina women who had never been a part of an organized movement. She has seen and worked on eliminating the multiple ways that racism and white supremacy has stifled the growth and relationships between community, especially Black and Latino. She not only sees the intersectionality of our work, but believes it as key to restoring the equity and equality that our democracy promises but often fails to deliver.

 

Andrea is a rare combination of humility, warmth, and fierceness.  She is a humble public servant and facilitative leader who sees her greatest legacy in the lives of the leaders she has served. She knows that collective and individual power is transformative. It is not uncommon to see her roll up her sleeves and canvass neighborhoods to increase voter turnout or hop on a bus to join a group of children advocating for immigration reform.  She is also a strong contender who is clear what is at stake and will fight for our people and our communities. As I take my next step to the Ford Foundation, I am highly confident that Andrea will be able to take the work that I helped begin to the next level.  I have great anticipation for her leadership in working with the fantastic staff, partners, and leaders at NewFM and throughout Florida.

 

Sincerely,

Gihan