I’m Excited to Continue This Work and to Lead TFN

Dear Friends,

The news that Kathy Miller is stepping down after 16 years as the president of Texas Freedom Network marks an important milestone for our organization. Kathy has been a strong leader and a true friend, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in the progressive movement in Texas.

I’m also honored and excited to have the opportunity as TFN’s new president on January 1 to follow in the footsteps of Kathy and the other great women who have led this organization since its founding 25 years ago. I have met so many of our supporters in my 14 years at TFN, first as outreach director and then as chief program officer. But if you don’t know me or want to learn a bit more, I want to tell you a little about myself and my vision for TFN.

As a native Texan, a proud daughter of a Mexican immigrant father, and a third-generation Mexican American mother, my experience has been defined by my culture. My family taught me about the vast contributions my community has made to the fabric of Texas and the nation. They shared with me the history of discrimination in this country and experienced it firsthand. And they have believed deeply in the importance of civic engagement, in working to make our communities and our state better for all. This solid foundation from my childhood is where my drive for equality and my passion for this work comes from.

A personal hero, labor and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, perhaps summed up best how I see the work we do together: “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”

This belief has guided my career since I was organizing fellow students to help ensure our University of Texas campus reflected the diversity of our state. Over more than two decades, I have worked for a wide array of organizations, building coalitions and running campaigns to support progressive policies both inside and outside Texas. My experience has also shown me the limits of what policy advocacy can achieve without enough elected champions. So much of my work, especially at TFN, has involved building electoral power, specifically with young people of color.

Supporters of TFN will continue to see our commitment to grassroots organizing, advocacy and social justice throughout our work. This is a pivotal time for our democracy.

I’m excited to continue this work and to lead TFN at a time when a rising generation of young, diverse leaders is set to bring important and necessary change to our state.

Ready for the work ahead!

Val Benavidez
TFN Chief Program Officer and Incoming President