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President and Executive Director, Texas Freedom Network and Texas Freedom Network Education Fund
Val Benavidez is the president and executive director for the Texas Freedom Network, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of progressive religious and community leaders and young Texans based in Austin. TFN’s youth-organizing program, Texas Rising, engages Texans ages 18-29 through extensive voter registration campaigns, GOTV work, and training in grassroots advocacy. The organization’s Just Texas program brings together faith leaders in support of social justice, including reproductive freedom and abortion access as well as LGBTQ equality. TFN works on a wide range of other issues as well, including voting rights, church-state separation and opposition to school textbook censorship.
Prior to becoming head of TFN, Val served as TFN’s chief program officer, overseeing programmatic efforts focused on issue advocacy, grassroots organizing, and legislative and electoral campaigns. These programs center around building power and leadership especially with young people of color and faith communities to create a truly reflective democracy in Texas. Val has directed large-scale voter registration and GOTV efforts on a statewide level. She has also worked for numerous nonprofit advocacy organizations prior to coming to TFN, including the Texas Immigrant and Refugee Coalition, League of Young Voters, and Generational Alliance. She served as executive director of ProTex: Network for a Progressive Texas and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Workers Defense Project.
Val is the proud daughter and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, farmworkers, railroad builders and all-around rabble rousers. She and her family live in Austin, where her two children attend public schools.