On June 4, 2020, City Impact Lab welcomed 30 leaders, virtually, to hear from Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, Executive Director of Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC LA).
Tunua Thrash-Ntuk was inspired as a young girl to see the world when her grandfather, a sanitation worker in Los Angeles, brought home a discarded globe. Despite her high school counselor thinking she might not be Berkeley material and should pick a college closer to home, Tunua took a leap and became the first person in her family to go to college. First to UC Berkeley and then MIT for a graduate degree in Public Policy, Tunua has been working in Los Angeles to make change. She shared these three principles:
Principle #1: “We are one world, connected in our humanity.”
The actions of individuals over the last few weeks have shown how we are all connected, much like the globe of her childhood represented.
Principle #2: “Imagination is our greatest weapon against our ills.”
Rather than accepting things as they are, Tunua dared to imagine what might be possible in her own life. When she was accepted to Berkeley, she didn’t know how much it would cost but she found ways to pay for it. Imagination paid off when she was recognized for her innovative approach and awarded a fellowship at MIT. Imagination is becoming reality as we see what a world would look like when people aren’t driving to work all of the time, and we are seeing the government print money to meet people’s basic needs.
Principle #3: “We must advocate for ourselves and for others.”
When she was bussed to her elementary school, Tunua was automatically placed in the lower reading ability group, which she didn’t think was challenging enough for her. She talked to her fourth grade teacher and asked what she needed to do to be placed in the higher reading group. She did everything her teacher suggested and was able to join the higher reading group. She has taken that advocacy to work to expand small business opportunities. When she sees injustice in any community, she speaks out.
Watch Tunua’s remarks:
The attendees then broke into smaller groups to discuss the question, “When there are so many things that demand your attention as a leader, where do you start?”
Thanks to all who joined us online. We hope you’ll be with us online July 2nd at 8:30 AM (PT) for the next City Impact Lab virtual breakfast. Our guest will be L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin—the taxpayers’ watchdog at City Hall. Given the converging challenges of 2020, his perspective will surely be thought-provoking.