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Field Notes

Staff Spotlight: Adaiah Hudgins-Lopez

Erin Rodriguez
June 30, 2021

Adaiah Hudgins-Lopez

Title: Associate, Advisory Services

Current Root Cause Projects: 

What was your path to Root Cause? 

I graduated from Bowdoin College in 2018 and almost immediately began a year with Teach for America Metro Atlanta. After almost a year of teaching in Atlanta Public Schools, I transitioned back to Michigan and began internships at the Crim Fitness Foundation’s Active Communities and the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit’s Immigration Services. In each of those spaces I recognized the disconnect between communities and the policies and/or institutions charged with protecting their interests. I wanted to find a way to continue serving people while also contributing to innovations in how those people are served. Root Cause had a broader vision for what serving communities could look like and that was exciting to me.

Why did you choose to work in social impact?

While I have always valued working towards the Common Good (shout out to my alma mater!), my professional experiences before Root Cause solidified my commitment to serving people in the ways they wanted to be served. For a year, I taught within an educational system that is failing students and felt how, as a part of my job, I began to compromise aspects of my core values for the sake of upholding that system. I recognized that it would take partnership between external and internal stakeholders to envision and implement the changes that would empower people like my students to chart their own paths. Part of the reason I was drawn to Root Cause was because of our organization’s understanding of what true partnership means and requires in order to make a social impact.

Do you have a favorite project from your time at RC? Why is it your favorite?

Latinos for Education ( 3-Year Strategic Planning). I was new to Root Cause when I joined this project, which was led by Anand Dholakia, who was a Principal at the time. On this project I was able to directly apply this vast body of knowledge I had about the education system and educational opportunities for students of color. I was also able to learn a lot, for example, about our country’s changing demographics, “Grow Your Own” programs, educational advocacy work, and other robust institutional supports required to ensure equitable access to educational opportunities and success. Our partners at Latinos for Education were enthusiastic and deeply invested in our work, which became a much larger planning process than originally anticipated. This project was not only a great introduction to Root Cause, but also to the nonprofit sector because we were able to verbalize what worked well and envision how we could improve other aspects of the work to give Latinx students the ability to self-determine their pathways to success and strengthen the vital community of Latinx educators.

Root Cause Mad Libs:

  • I am passionate about (write in three social issue areas): Immigration Law/Service Provision, Education, and Racial and Economic Equity
  • Here’s what I’m currently reading, watching, or listening to: 
    • Reading: The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio and Dawn by Octavia Butler (she’s my favorite author and I’m constantly rereading her work)
    • Watching: Zoo and Lupin (both are on Netflix)
    • Listening: The Improvement Association podcast and a lot of Jacob Collier and Samm Henshaw
  • In my spare time, I like to………………… 
    • Dance (Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Modern, Hip-Hop, Animation, etc.) or do Pilates
  • In 10 years, this is the change I hope to see……..
    • That people take the time to learn how to really, truly, deeply listen to each other. That people are learning how to value the humanity in others as equivalent to their own humanity. If these things started to happen, we would begin to see significant, positive movement in most of the egregious disparities that we see today.
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