I don’t like the phrase, “Speaking truth to power.” It disempowers those it tries to empower.
The powerful bring power to the truth.
Lorella Praeli is the only person I’ve met who brings power to the truth — and she does it on one leg.
I first met Lorella in 2010 when she arrived in DC from the great state of Connecticut.
I don’t know if Connecticut is a great state. It seems to be a very small state with a large amount of wrestlers and financiers. Maybe I’m just being nice.
But I digress…
Lorella arrived in town to take over the policy director role for United We Dream. I remember her saying something like, “I don’t know how I’m going to learn all this.”
Well, a few years later, she is running circles around the rest of us (still needing a new leg).
Whether Lorella is meeting with the President, the head of the Department of Homeland Security or her fellow advocates, she brings a power to the truth no one else can match.
Most of the time, Lorella is the youngest person in the room. The conversation unfolds with the older, umm, more experienced, advocates prattling on.
Lorella is just watching and listening. Taking notes, waiting for the right moment.
Lorella raises her head just a bit and cuts in. All of a sudden I notice the seriousness of her eyes. And, in my mind at least, I think I’m about to get dressed down for yet another inane comment.
(I make a lot of them. And, I think every meeting (or blog post) should be about me.)
Instead, Lorella zeroes in on the question at hand, puts the decision maker on their heels with a combination of personal and intellectual power, and the rest of the room is left thinking, “Damn, Lorella just nailed it.”
She hasn’t just spoken truth to power.
Lorella brought the power of the undocumented community she represents, the power of her policy expertise and the power of her personality to the truth.
The truth has spoken, her name is Lorella and she needs a new leg.
When Lorella was two-years-old, a car pinned her against a wall, causing her to have her right leg amputated. Her parents decided to bring her to the United States from Peru following her amputation so that she could receive medical treatment.
A donor is willing to match the remaining $10,000 Lorella needs for a new leg.
We just need to raise the first $10,000.
Originally published at ali-noorani.com on March 12, 2015.