“For me there is no one moment in time when I know that working for social justice was my calling. Growing up in a middle class Ohio suburb, I always knew that I didn’t quite gel with the Norman Rockwell type experience I was supposed to live and love. I was fortunate to have a grandmother who was also deeply troubled by the status quo and from a young age she counseled and encouraged me to think outside of the box of what society expected. She also encouraged me to live the life I was meant to live and be proud of who I am. This led to me having a strong sense of not only myself but of justice for all people to be able to have the supports they need to succeed.”
In 2000 there were ballot measures being introduced in the state of Oregon that would have changed the political landscape dramatically. Essentially, public employee unions would have been all but eliminated. I was asked to work on gathering member contact information from locals across the state and work to build a comprehensive contact list of all union members in the state. I then utilized this list to support the member contact and get out the vote efforts to defeat the ballot measures. We were successful and I found a niche in my social justice work that I really enjoy and excel at. Since then I have continued to work with activists to realize their plans and help to make the data work to put those plans into action. This work has included door-to-door contact plans, supporting home and workplace visits with reluctant voters, telephone contact strategies, mailing campaigns, development plans and more. Currently, I am working with the local street newspaper to help build capacity to allow from a move from bi-weekly to weekly publication.
I love working with activists to learn what their vision is for their data – contact, tracking, whatever they are dreaming of. I then like to look at the technical side and figure out how to best make that happen. I could be helping them to set up better data entry and collection systems or working with a database designer to tweak the system to better meet their needs. I believe that we have a lot of really bright and creative people fighting for a better society but they don’t always understand how to make technology work to advance their vision. I want to help bridge that gap.