Social & Political Activist. Afro-Latina. Survivor. Advocate.
Francesca Menes was born in Miami, Florida. Her parents migrated from the beautiful “Pearl of the Antilles,” Haiti to the United States in the 1970s. She is the youngest of 3 daughters.
Francesca was raised in the heart of Little Haiti. She graduated from Edison Park Elementary School, Edison Middle School and briefly attended Edison Senior High School, where she was member of the marching band. In 1999, Francesca and her family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where she graduated 5th in her senior class at Central Classical Greek and Computers Unlimited Magnet High School.
Throughout her childhood, Francesca’s parents worked hard and sacrificed tremendously to provide all that their children would ever need. Her parents instilled the importance of education and in 2003 after graduating high school, she returned to Miami and continued her education at Miami-Dade College and Florida International University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science and Women’s Studies, a minor in Philosophy, a certificate in National Security Studies and was a 2008 Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholar. Additionally, in 2013, she graduated from Florida International University with a Master’s in Public Administration and a certificate in Community Development.
While in college, Francesca was a student leader in several organizations, including Voices for Choice, the Young Activist Team of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast and the National Organization for Women (NOW) that helped in shaping her social and political perspectives. Since leaving FIU, Francesca’s passion and commitment to her community, education, and activism has only strengthened.
Francesca has dedicated over 10+ years of service to social, institutional, systematic and political change.
She served 2 years as an AmeriCorps member in the Public Allies program at Catalyst Miami that focuses on developing the next generation of leaders who are committed to long-term social change.
Francesca Menes is the Florida State Coordinator for Local Progress, a network of hundreds of progressive local elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. She works closely with partner organizations throughout the Sunshine State to bring progressive policy solutions to our local elected officials.
Prior to joining Center for Popular Democracy, Francesca served as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and Political Director for FLIC Votes, where she led the development and implementation of strategic legislative, policy and voter engagement campaigns locally and statewide centered on intersectional social justice issues, including worker’s rights, racial justice, criminal justice and women’s rights.
For 2 years, Francesca was the coordinator of a national network of organizations fighting for the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). She also co-coordinated the Florida Wage Theft Task Force, which led the passage of ordinances in several counties throughout the state. She coordinated a national network campaigning for Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. In 2014, she successfully led the statewide campaign “We Are Florida’s Future” to pass in-state tuition for undocumented students and led the campaign to establish the Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade County, establishing a public-private partnership to promote naturalization.
Additionally, during the 2016 and 2017 legislative session, Francesca successfully coordinated the statewide campaign "We Are Florida's Families," which led to the defeat of 9 anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills which sought to criminalize immigrants and remove from office local elected officials who support and vote on policies to protect immigrants regardless of their status. In 2017, she also led the passage of several Welcoming Cities and School District resolutions.
Furthermore, for the past 8 years, Francesca has served on the national steering committee of the Black Immigration Network. A network with the vision of uniting people of African descent for racial justice and migrant rights to achieve social, economic and political power, which Francesca helped co-found in 2008.
For 2 years, Francesca served on the board of South Florida Jobs with Justice, a community organization leading the fight for worker's rights, focused on bring together labor, community, students and faith leaders. She also served on the board of the Miami-Dade Young Democrats for over 8 years and recently ended her 2-year term as the Vice President of Communications and Administration.
For 8 years, Francesca served on the Miami-Dade Commission for Women, where she is a former 2nd Vice-Chair of the Commission, appointed by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman.
In May 2015, she has also served as the co-coordinator for #Rights4ALLinDR, a broad coalition of organizations and individuals advocating for human rights and dignity in the Dominican Republic.
Currently, she serves on the Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency, where she is Secretary of the Executive Board, appointed by then-Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime. She is also a board member of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, Miami-Dade County Democratic Executive Committee State Committeewoman and Treasurer of the Florida Democratic Party.
Francesca has received numerous honors and recognitions, including:
- 20 Under 40 Emerging Leaders in South Florida, The Miami Herald
- Miami's 40 Under 40 Young Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow, Legacy Magazine
- 20 Under 40 Haitian-American Young Professionals, The Haitian-American Chamber Of Commerce of Florida
- “Angels on Adams Street”, Influence Magazine
- Marie Claire Heureuse Leadership Award, FANM/ Haitian Women of Miami
- Advocacy Award, Haitian Lawyers Association
- Women of Influence Award, Association of Exchange & Development of Activities and Partnerships (AEDAP)
- Unsung Hero Award, City of Miami Gardens Honoree
- Kombit Kreyol International Women Celebration