What did you do prior to CE&I?
Before coming to CEI, I worked as a community organizer, trainer and facilitator, equity consultant, project strategist, domestic violence and sexual assault advocate, policy analyst, and more. Most recently, I oversaw the Assertive Engagement Initiative at Multnomah County, focused on building client-centered practices in shelters, schools, and other social services with over 50 nonprofit agencies. Prior to that, I coordinated the LGBTQ Program at Bradley Angle for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. I also worked as a consultant for several nonprofits and foundations around trans-inclusion and racial justice intersections. I served at Basic Rights Oregon for a number of years, helping to start the Trans Justice program and move statewide policies for trans-affirming healthcare, as well as supporting and learning from the Racial Justice program. My professional journey started with working for the student government of PSU as Equal Rights Advocate and a volunteer coordinator on various student-organized sexual assault prevention efforts.
Why do you do this work?
This work has been the work of my lifetime. Growing up in a rural, fundamentalist environment and understanding my Jewish lineage has called me to the struggles of social justice. Coming out as queer and transgender at an early age taught me about discrimination. Living with visible and invisible disabilities as an adult showed me how the world was not built equitably for everyone. Being a white person in the world continues to help me understand my own power, privilege, and biases. Believing in “tikkun olam,” the idea that humans have the potential to repair the world, is what keeps me going.
What do you believe?
I believe that “love is an action” (quoting bell hooks) and each day is a chance to put that action into practice wherever I find myself. I believe in community organizing. I believe in the power of relationships. I believe that people are the experts on their own lives.
What is a question that guides your work?
Where are the gaps and where are the bridges?
What is a quote that resonates with you?
“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?” – bell hooks