Stephen Roberson Transitions Out of Community Voices Heard. An exclusive Q&A inside look
“My time at Community Voices Heard has been an important chapter in my life. Very grateful”
What led you to CVH?
I was just off the heels working with the New Organizing Institute. I had attended one of their national workshops where I met some of the young leaders from the Dream Defenders in FL. They were founded in April 2012 after the tragic killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. They now organize Black and Brown youth to build power in our communities. Upon returning back home to New York - I was led to research how to fundraise for this group. That is when I found Community Voices Heard. I quickly saw that CVH stood for many of the same principles I did such as the empowerment of low income communities, women/black/brown led, organized for equity and was invested in leadership development for their members and staff.
What are you most proud of during your time at CVH?
I am most proud of my relationships with the past and present Executive Directors as well Juanita Lewis and many others along the way throughout the years. These relationships helped people to grow into more successful leaders then they were when we first met. I also grew with them. Our learning mutual environment was everything.
I have great appreciation for all of the people (members, leaders, organizers, allies) I have come in contact with and had the opportunity to work with and develop. So grateful for the genuine human interaction and spirit.
What is your most notable moment during your time at CVH?
I don’t recall the year, but all I can remember was an overnight staff training. The staff team was conducting role playing 1:1 face to face meetings. We were asked to take a break, reflect and return to see how we were doing. I said: "Get Deeper, You Wimp!” You see, our work requires us to push others to go deeper into people’s stories.
My 2nd most notable moment (and my favorite) was when CVH was leading the No Cuts Against HUD at Federal Plaza. A few of our CVH leadership, staff, members and allies got arrested. I had the honor of singing them off to jail.
What are you excited to see CVH do in the future under the new leadership Juanita Lewis?
Making sure we insulate from the noise from the public arena caused by politicians and corporations, who are pushing for their interest and against those of low income people.
Going to work on areas the members want to focus on and are willing to work for.
What is your favorite TV Show?
I am not really a TV guy but I do occasionally enjoy watching Judge Joe Mathis.
What are our Top 2 books you recommend as you transition out?
The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
No Mud No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that my 1st daughter (who I love so much) was raised in the Netherlands. I also like to work with my hands on mechanical projects.
Interview Conducted By: Omar Herrera, Communications Manager I June 2021