Hi Bus fam! I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Tiffany Mendoza, one of our BFF’s who has been on the Bus since our organization’s inception back in 2008! As a fairly new member of the Bus family, I love getting to know the folks who have contributed to our organization’s amazing journey. Thank you Tiffany for our wonderful conversation, your dedication to The Washington Bus has made a tangible difference in our community and has been personally enlightening to learn about! Scroll down to check out some of our chat’s highlights.
Fernando Barceló: I’m curious, what originally brought you to the Bus? And how have you evolved alongside us?
Tiffany Mendoza: I grew up with the Bus in some way: I led a voter registration drive at University of Washington and partnered with the Bus for the first Trick or Vote in 2008! When I returned to the PNW a couple of years later, the Bus was a great tool to connect with volunteer opportunities and meet new people across the sector. I was able to build partnerships with the Bus – collaborating with the fellowship program three different times – and was even part of the board. My relationship with the Bus has evolved over time, but it has always been a place to continue growing community for me.
FB: In your personal opinion, why is it important to contribute to organizations like the Washington Bus?
TM: Building power and change goes beyond any one election cycle – it takes vision and consistency. Oftentimes, progressives say that we need more opportunities for young people, especially from diverse backgrounds, to have a role in our movements for change. The Bus provides the space to build community and collective power to ensure that there is a robust pipeline in Washington’s progressive sphere.
We have witnessed how much can be accomplished when young people help to drive the agenda, including policy and electoral wins. That doesn’t come from nowhere, it is important permanent infrastructure. The question is will there be investment to ensure that we meet the multifaceted needs of this time.
FB: What are some of the latest news you have heard about the Bus?
TM: The Bus has grown up from a scrappy startup organization and with that comes important foundational work. I’ve been proud to see the Bus thoughtfully figure out how to sustain itself and ensure its stability through structures like the new Co-Executive Directors model and by investing in staff.
This has allowed The Bus to have consistency for its continued success while experimenting with how best to reach out to young people, meet them on their terms, and build power with them across Washington State.
FB: Lastly, could you recount a personal story you have with the Bus?
TM: There are a lot of memories associated with the Bus. From the fun events like Trick or Vote and Candidate Survivor to meeting some of my closest friends through volunteering.
The summers of 2013 and 2014 hold special memories for me because I got to partner deeply with the Bus fellows. In those summers, we went door to door in impacted neighborhoods, did a phone bank survey of over 3,000 young people of color and held a concert event (Beat the Heat) in Bellevue to hear about the impacts people are feeling from climate change. It was a precursor to incorporating environmental justice in mainstream platforms. The Washington Bus has always been a leader in building progressive change through youth leadership development!
Tiffany Mendoza (right). Trick or Vote: Get out the voter canvass in support of Marriage Equality (Ref 74). Circa 2012.
Tiffany Mendoza (center). Day of action with Washington Bus Fellows, Washington Environmental Council & Power Past Coal. Doing a door to door survey of precincts near the train rail lines in Kent to hear about the impacts more coal trains would have on overburdened populations. Circa 2013.