Madison Porras: MOVE San Antonio
1) WHO ARE YOU? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF, HEY, EVEN BRAG A LITTLE.
My name’s Madison Porras and I’m currently a senior studying Communication at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Dallas born, but I grew up in Atlanta and San Antonio. I spent a few of my adult years in the desert before coming back home to San Antonio. I’ve got endless hobbies and interests but my strongest skills are in digital communication.
My love affair with digital media began when I was 12, editing videos using windows movie maker on my family’s clunky desktop computer. Many years later I landed a job editing video at a less clunky desktop computer for Arizona Public Media, the PBS affiliate for Southern Arizona. After returning to San Antonio I continued my journey working in radio. Over the years I’ve felt an increasing desire to get involved in the community, which has led me to where I am now. Currently, I’m a Fellow with a nonprofit called MOVE San Antonio and I was previously an intern with The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. I also do some freelance design work.
2) TELL US ABOUT THE WORK YOU ARE DOING AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT.
I do a lot of things to stay busy, but I would say that the work I do with MOVE San Antonio is by far the most important. MOVE is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that works to make politics more accessible and representative of young people and underrepresented communities, especially in San Antonio. MOVE is made up of two full-time employees, six part-time fellows, and around 15 incredible interns. San Antonio has 13 college campuses and we’re on every single one of them registering hundreds of voters every week. We’re small but we pack a lot of punch. At the heart of everything we do is the field work: this involves everything from speaking in front of large classrooms to visiting underrepresented neighborhoods and knocking on doors for three hours. The goal is to register people to vote and then give them all the information they need to make an informed vote. While we are nonpartisan, we also do advocacy work for issues that young people care about. This includes everything from LGBTQ+ rights to affordable housing.
"Once you open your eyes to what’s going on around you, there is no way to ignore it."
In addition to all of that, I use my skill sets to take on a more focused role. For the most part, any kind of graphic, whether it’s an online flyer or a printed handout, is created by me. This is my bread and butter and where I believe I am able to make the most meaningful contribution.
On a more personal level, MOVE has given me opportunities to grow as an individual and a professional. On an average day, I'll wake up and finish a design for an upcoming event, head over to one of the campuses to talk to students about voting, and then put on my nice clothes and mingle with local officials or speak in front of a board/commission about issues that matter to me. For me, these kinds of day to day experiences are invaluable.
3) WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME CHALLENGES IN PURSUING THIS WORK?
There is definitely a distinct emotional toll that comes with this kind of work. Once you open your eyes to what’s going on around you, there is no way to ignore it. Because MOVE is such a small organization, sometimes making a positive change feels impossible. It never is, but it feels that way sometimes. Regardless, I am impressed every day with the people around me and the strides we have been able to make working together.
Another this is the amount of rejection you have to face. From slamming doors to phone hang ups to people laughing in your face, after a little while you become an EXPERT at taking rejection. But, at the end of the day you will ALWAYS have people thanking you for coming to their neighborhood or speaking out about issues that matter.
4) WHERE AND HOW CAN WE SUPPORT YOU IN YOUR QUEST?
The best thing you can do is GET INVOLVED. Whether that means volunteering, donating, or just simply going out and voting. Please vote! If you’d like to donate time or money, I would encourage you to donate to local organizations that matter to you. I can tell you from experience, they’re overworked and underfunded. Your time and money are valuable, and they go a lot further when given to smaller organizations.
5) Madison, WHO INSPIRES YOU?
For me, I draw a lot of my inspiration from San Antonio as a community. I’m constantly amazed by the people around me. I’m inspired by our team for dedicating so much of themselves to something greater. They don’t get nearly enough credit in my opinion. I’m also inspired by my friends and my family for their resilience and capacity to love. Lastly, I’m inspired (and humbled) by the people I meet everyday. San Antonio is an incredibly diverse city and I learn so much from everybody I meet.