Lessons from Miss Baker

Today marks the anniversary of Miss Ella Jo Baker's birth and death day. She would be 109 years old today. You can learn about Miss Baker's work here. 

To commemorate this anniversary, we asked members of our staff, Board, and community- What is one way that the legacy and life of MIss Ella Jo Baker impacts your work for social justice? Here is what they shared. 

Ella Jo Baker's steadfast commitment to providing a space and platform for those she worked with to  step-up in their leadership and voice their vision for social justice, inspires me to place leadership development at the center of any and all social justice work that I do.  Miss Baker's legacy has taught me that we must always seek out opportunities to make space for new voices and visions, because each one is vital in the struggle for social justice. - Nwamaka Agbo, Staff

Ella Jo Baker's work has ingrained in me that there is a place for everyone in social justice and motivates me to find pathways for people to plug into the movement. - Ricardo Moran, Staff

Miss Ella Jo Baker inspires me through her ego-less leadership.  Even the most noble causes and leaders can be sullied by egos and self aggrandizement. Miss Ella Jo Baker never put herself before the struggle and never sought personal glory.  Her example reminds me that it is the cause and the people that matter, not the self. - Mark Wagner, Board Member

The fact that her own story of activism was behind the scenes inspires me. She had the commitment to make room for others' leadership. I hope to live a life where I can fuel others' dreams of justice, then we can all be part of history.  - Rhina Ramos, Staff

Miss Ella Jo Baker's fearless yet humble leadership reminds me daily to be strong and to be a leader in my community - I don't need to wait for someone else to come and save me!  Miss Ella Jo Baker reminds me that any "ordinary" person can make a difference. - Suzanne Vyborney, Volunteer

When I feel disillusioned that change is possible or find my hope in a better world waning, I think of Miss Baker's commitment to life long struggle. "We who believe in freedon can not rest until it comes," she once said. I recite this as a mantra, not at the expense of the importance of self care or rest, but to remind myself that the work for collective liberation is life long work. - Meredith Fenton, Staff

Ella Baker proves for me that a truly democratic approach to organizing is not just a nice idea, but probably the best tool we have to make positive social change. - Owen Thompson, Ella's Voice Editorial Board

Ms. Ella Jo Baker's work as a behind-the-scene movement builder and organizer inspire me to be a servant leader. Nothing is too small or beneath me. She led, and so can I. We matter.  - Shiree Teng, Chair of the Board

What do you think are the lasting impacts of Miss Baker's life and legacy?

If you are in the Bay Area, celebrate with us tonight at the 2012 Legacy Event: Justice Knows No Borders.