One thing I bring is a memory. It shapes my own narrative of who I am, who I’ve become, and what I have to share with others, and it goes like this:
In my early 20s, as a student at community college, taking an interdisciplinary course on the state of the world, I became utterly overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks in front of us, and told a teacher that I was planning to drop out. She urged me to instead take a semester for independent study, to study on the prospects for hope, before letting go. That is how learning became an expression of my own hope; through study, through catching a glimpse of the history of human struggle and triumph, I learned that there is hope if we have it.
That English teacher taught me about hope by teaching me to inquire, to ask, to learn. And I carry with me a belief that the possibility for our individual and collective well-being lies in each of us becoming better learners: learning more about how we got here, how change occurs, and how we can be more effective agents of meaningful, systemic change.
More broadly speaking, what I bring is who I am; all the parts of myself, experiences I have behind me, choices I make along the way, and the intentions that compel me forward:
In addition to identifying as a white, queer woman with class privilege, I’m also the grand-daughter of immigrants, and first generation Californian. My strongly-identified Jewish family assimilated into middle-class whiteness through my childhood.
As I said on the home page, I’ve been active in social movements to overcome exclusion and violence all of my adult life. I am co-founder of the community-based self-defense project Home Alive and of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.
One of the things I bring forward from 15 years of Palestine solidarity and organizing in the contexts of both localized joint struggle and internationalism is an appreciation for the history of social struggle and the leadership it engenders. I have learned to study that history and to center the many contemporary forms of social struggle as reference points. I bring an awareness of how “movement” and “social change” hold different meaning depending on our relationships to the histories that shaped these terms. I bring an awareness that until those least impacted by the morass of challenges facing humankind find ways to join in efforts to address them, those most impacted will continue to do the heavy lifting.
As a child I felt the absence of history: in the rootlessness that brought my family to the far edge of the Western world, blocked from further expansion only by the icy Pacific Ocean; in the youth and impermanence of the place itself; and in the constructed mono-culture of the classrooms and city-scape there.
As a person who found little dignity in the public education system, I didn’t graduate from high school, but went back to school on my own terms as an adult. I have a self-designed bachelor’s degree in personal, social and systems change and a master’s degree in the politics of alternative development studies. I’ve traveled extensively and lived, studied, organized and worked on three continents.
One of the things I now have to bring is a formal education:
- B.A. in Transition Studies: Personal, Social and Systemic Change
- M.A. in Alternative Development Strategies
- Adult Education Teaching credential
- 15 years of teaching experience
- Ongoing professional development
This includes work as a job search coach for people pushed out of the economy in 2009, as I was. It doesn’t include any of the training, facilitation, and workshop development for the nonprofit sector or for the popular education that is integral to activism.
If there’s one thread running through my life that explains what I bring, it’s a belief that, together, we have the potential to tip the balance toward our individual and collective well-being – and the well-being of the systems of which we are a part.
What I bring is the desire to continue learning with others how to build the world we want to live in together.
If you would like to know more about who I am, and some of my own journey, you can find it here.