Op-ed: Leadership Takes Courage

Nayma Silver-Matos, an alumna of IGNITE and the State Committee Woman for New York's Assembly District 72 penned this powerful essay on Facebook. With her permission, IGNITE has republished it here. 

"It takes courage to speak up against complacency and injustice while others remain silent. But that's what leadership is."

- Rosabeth M. Kanter

If you are a woman interested in running for office or getting more involved in politics for the first time - know this - patience is a necessity. It takes time to learn. To learn how things really work, how they are interconnected, to see the different levels, who are the different stakeholders, what happened in the past, who did what and when, who didn't, what impact did this have, and so much more. Then, there is the personal process of growth and internal work to become a better leader (if you care about that). It takes time to understand the terrain.

Make sure your heart is strong. The majority of people are not what they appear to be, especially here in this realm. These are not kitty cats, cute puppy dogs, dolphins, mice, sheep, iguanas or Vampirina bats in the field. They are bloodthirsty felines, canines, sharks, vampires. Plus, crocodiles, rats, pigs, etc.

I share this because most people do not tell you about this part.

What makes politics dirty is not politics itself, it is the type of people involved and the types of things they do.

Knowing this myself, I have to remind myself, why it is important to stay in the field and keep going. Because many times I have tried to walk away. Still, when I walk away, it comes to find me.

So, why do (I) keep going in this field? Because politics and diplomacy done right can save lives. I have seen it first-hand. Because we need more of the right people involved to take up space and do the work. Because the majority of the people involved are the wrong type of people for the job(s) but they play a great game of optics. I can't sit back and let others determine my people's future without our input, without putting up resistance -- at least trying to make a difference.

I have to at least try until I can't try anymore. It's in my DNA.

Why let them keep taking up space when enough has been enough.

In sisterhood,

Nayma Silver-Matos

State Committee Woman, AD 72

Washington Heights | Inwood | Marble Hill

Connect with Nayma on Instagram at @nayma_silver and via her website. Nayma first connected with IGNITE at Young Women Run in Washington D.C., back in 2016. She shared that is was her first official political training program as a woman already involved in politics. Because information to run for office wasn't widely available to women, Nayma had to piece it all together and she shared that "IGNITE was instrumental in that process".