This Throwback Thursday episode arrives as final votes are being counted in the 2022 elections in the United States. It’s a full circle moment to revisit this powerful conversation from 2017 with community activist, TedX speaker, author of the book ​​”Black Brown and Political: Get Informed, Get Empowered and Change the Game,” and founder of the Powerhouse Academy, Chandra Brooks.

In this conversation those five years ago, Chandra inspired me to get back out and canvas in support of a local candidate, Noelia Corzo, during her first run for school board in my community. Last night, my son Jacob and I, who volunteered together, celebrated with Noelia and her supporters as she received the initial promising results for her run as County Supervisor.

If the votes continue in her favor, Noelia will be the first Latina woman Supervisor in our County. I’m honored to reshare this episode and acknowledge all the activists like Chandra and candidates like Noelia who have the courage and commitment to step into the arena, to sit at the table and own their power.

Original Show Notes

I’m honored to share this episode #32 of the podcast with Chandra Brooks, who has become a friend and a generous thought partner for me in recent months.

Chandra is a wife, mother of four, a grandmother, author, entrepreneur and the Northern California Staff Director for SEIU-United Service Workers West.  Born and raised in San Jose, CA, she’s passionate about civil rights, social justice, and improving voter outcomes and civic engagement in communities of color.  

She’s also an appointed commissioner for Santa Clara County’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Chair of the Justice and Advocacy Committee and elected Delegate for The California Democratic Party.

In 2017 Chandra launched The SocialPreneur, a purpose driven business that prepares potential candidates to run for political office and mentors women to own their power and leadership within their company, business, and/or community.

I reached out to Chandra because I wanted to talk with her the week that she released her new book, “Black, Brown & Political: Get Informed, Get Empowered and Change the Game” which provides easy to navigate tips and inspiration to help women of color get involved in local politics.

In this episode, we got to dive deep into the influences which drove Chandra to own her voice and reach her fullest potential. She shares how her mother led her by example to stand up for herself as a woman at a young age and how her uncle unknowingly sparked her to strive for greatness after he doubted her future success when she became pregnant as a teenager.  And, we uncover how Chandra’s ambition, value for education, and commitment to political leadership helps her inspire generations today, from her 12 year old son to the women she mentors, to sit at the table and own their power.

I didn’t realize when I scheduled the interview with Chandra that we would be talking the day before the November 2017 elections. The conversation couldn’t have come at a better time, and her challenge inspired me to go out and do another round of precinct walking with my 5 year old that afternoon. It was thrilling to wake up the next day to news that so many women of color, including one woman my son and I had supported the day before, had been elected.

Chandra, with her new book as a resource, is a powerful force to fuel this growing movement of women stepping into more leadership. I hope this conversation will inspire you, as it has me, to be part of this movement and to more fully own our power to make a difference.

This episode dedicated by:

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How Chandra intended to release her book a year after the 2016 elections to encourage people to reflect on the decisions they made the year before and realize the importance of being politically involved
  • Chandra’s strong, opinionated, and independent mother and how she set an example for Chandra to not be subservient to men
  • How Chandra intentionally teaches her children about social justice issues and about their heritage
  • The lack of access Chandra witnessed to vocational training and education for women in a local prison, compared to the men, and how she’s using her leverage as Commissioner to change that.
  • What happened when Chandra’s uncle told her “Your life is over, you might as well prepare to be on welfare” after she announced she was pregnant as a teenager.
  • How Chandra’s fascination and observation of people in leadership planted seeds for her becoming an entrepreneur
  • The importance of seeking out mentors and coaches and not being afraid to reach out and ask for help
  • Chandra’s call to action for us to get more engaged in our local community politics

Resources mentioned in this episode: