A Year of Growth, Grit, and Gratitude

Executive Committee and staff after the “We Got Your Back” ceremony in March 2018, at Michelle Ramos’ first ExComm meeting. 

Michelle Ramos, Executive Director, Alternate ROOTS

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”
– Maya Angelou

ROOTers we are the light! Throughout 2018 I have seen your light in so many ways; in how you show up for each other, how you stand firmly in your values and in your commitment to your art and activism. As I approach my one year mark as Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, three words are fully present for me as I reflect back on the year: growth, grit, and gratitude.

GROWTH: Other than my childhood years, and perhaps the year my daughter was born, I don’t recall any year in my life that I felt this level of growth as an individual. This ROOTS team, leadership, elders, and members have supported, challenged, and stretched me more than I ever could have imagined. The learning curve was steep… but I know unequivocally, I am a better leader for it, and recognize there is much more growing to do in 2019! I’m ready!

GRIT: The state of our nation, events throughout 2018, and the impact on our members has been felt deep in my core, broken my heart, and at times left me without hope… and yet these times have ignited my passion to do this work, hand in hand with you all. Your unrelenting commitment to keep the work moving forward, despite multiple setbacks – I have been honored and humbled to bear witness and share in your grit.

GRATITUDE: The love filled transition is real y’all! At times the love was tough love or critical love, but there was always love – real love for the impact this transition had on me, the team, our members, and the organization. And yet it was always affirmed for me that ROOTS picked me and committed to me in a way I cannot even find the words to describe.

So this is a thank you to the team, ExComm, members, friends, family – all the people that throughout 2018 said “I see you” and “we got your back.” I have been honored to work alongside you this past year and am beyond excited about what’s to come in 2019!



Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.