My name is Armando Del Toro Garcia, and I am FADP’s new Director of Organizing. I’m delighted to introduce myself to you. Thanks to your support and a generous grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, I was able to join the team to strengthen FADP’s connection to Florida communities across the state and facilitate the opportunities you need in order to express your support for just alternatives to capital punishment. I am inspired, honored, and excited to take on the challenge.
My mission is to have Floridians come together—across party lines, philosophies, religions, and any other differences—to agree that a truly free society does not dole death out as justice. I want to demonstrate to our leaders in Tallahassee that we can come together for common sense and that, in these chaotic times, we would like them to do the same.
How do we accomplish that with organizing? What do we mean by “organizing?”
If you’re asking yourself these questions—good! Me too! I couldn’t tell you, exactly. Not yet. What I can tell you is why that’s not a bad thing, and how I approach my role.
The first time I tried college, I was eventually forced to confront that I didn’t have the material resources to make ends meet as a college student. My grandparents came from a rural place in Cuba with few resources; one of my parents was incarcerated, and the other had no income. I was taught I should ignore these circumstances and just work hard, but I learned the hard way that ignoring them led to poor choices. I may not have created these circumstances, but when I took ownership of them as my burdens to carry, I saw my needs more clearly and made a life-changing decision to move across the country for better opportunities.
Fifteen years later, I finally gained access to higher education and completed my undergraduate career. There was something new in my life at that time, which made me successful: the woman who would eventually be my wife. She believed in me. Her presence in my life created the conditions for success.
These are two key events among many in my life that I’ve taken as demonstrations that—to borrow a phrase from the poet, John Donne—no man is an island. No amount of ambition or hustle alone would have been enough to make up for the unmet needs I had as a young man. Likewise, despite my best efforts, a life-changing accomplishment that I’m given credit for was only made possible by the supportive connection I made with another person.
As my personal examples might illustrate, I like to think that we are all interconnected. I also think we are often under the delusion that we are separate. I once found it difficult to see how my relationships with others influenced my success on a personal level. If that’s hard, then it’s much more challenging for all of us to see how our connections to each other relate to the bigger accomplishments we want to see in our communities and our society.
Really, my job is to help communities of people shed the delusion and see a path towards a common interest, together. I’m simply here to give people the tools and support to work together. I can’t quite say what that looks like, because that’s not up to me. It’s up to all of us. I’m here to help create a vision, listen to it, and turn it into a strategy that supports the work that FADP has already been doing.
You will be hearing more from me very soon.
P.S. We can’t do any of this without you. FADP is now able to receive donations via PayPal, ApplePay, and Venmo as well as by debit and credit cards, cash, and checks. Thank you for your support!