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Archive for December, 2008

I joined the discussion at Change.gov and used Open for Questions to ask President-Elect Obama:

“What will you say to convey your support and respect for each person’s unique experience with abortion?”

If Obama needs help, women who have had abortions tell him what they would like to here on YouTube.

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A Good Story

I saw this video for the first time at a benefit fundraiser for Rowan, at the climbing gym in Berkeley.   It’s quite amazing.   Talk about a big challenge!

Full Lung Capacity from Chris Bloch on Vimeo.

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Bad News???

Since I posted my Fave5 Restaurants for a Delicious Dinner in Oakland…I have heard from two people that my favorite datenight location – JoJo’s – will be closing on Dec. 31st.  Sad Face.   Now, I need a new Oakland place for a romantic rendevouz….nothing is coming immediately to mind.  Suggestions???

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Thursday Night Dinner

Grilled chx tenders, grilled red onions, green lettuce with light honey-mustard dressing (not homemade), and three pieces of baguette with stinky cheese.  Gone are the days when bread and cheese WAS dinner….I miss those days. Wine not pictured. 🙂thursdinner

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Me, Myself and I

For the last 7+ years, I have been a spokesperson.  As a spokesperson I have to think constantly about my audience and the ways in which I want to connect with them.  I have to think about my words, my message, my tone and the ways I deliver all of these things.  I have really loved this role.  Being a spokesperson for an organization with a very clear constituency and mission has not only given me purpose, it has made me feel accountable to others.  I like this feeling.   I cannot spout off, be judgmental or snarky, or attack others because of how that would diminish my credibility as a spokesperson with a message and a mission for which I am passionate about and want to see fulfilled. 

And, after 7 years I have found somewhat of a split between the public me and the personal me, the me that does feel judgmental sometimes and doesn’t live her life on message.  As the world changes and people are more and more interested in the personal lives of their leaders, in how we come to form opinions and reflect on our actions, and in some cases, what we eat for dinner, I have been nervous about being more public about who I am as a person and the risks that may bring for the organization I represent as a spokesperson. 

As I’ve been writing this blog and getting feedback from my peers, allies and colleagues, this continues to be a question.  What if someone is turned off by my personal self and therefore loses trust in the organiation I represent???  How are other leaders wading through this muck of personal/public in our new world of communications and constant connection??? 

Got some good examples for me?  I’d love to see them.

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Yesterday I was interviewed for the Cal Alumni magazine: California.  I’ll let you know when it comes out.  I was talking about how my peace and conflict studies education informed my work founding and leading Exhale, and the pro-voice movement.   Here’s my top 3:

1.   INSPIRATION. I studied the role civil society plays in addressing community needs, resolving conflicts and creating peaceful communities.   When I found myself post-abortion with nowhere to turn I believed that I had everything I needed to make some change on this issue for myself, and others.  I was inspired by all the stories I had read about how communities had risen up against all odds to make their lives better.  My problem seemed small in comparison and I felt if they could do it – surely I could.

2.  REAL-WORLD LEARNING.  As part of my education, I had to intern at a non-profit organization.  I volunteered at The Ruckus Society.  Their mission was a unique and important approach to bringing attention to important issues and I wanted to fill my social change toolbox with as many tools as I could, never knowing which tool would be right for the jobs at hand.  As an intern, I made one of the best decisions of my life.  I chose to work on fundraising.  I learned the language, terminology, process, strategies of how to raise money for a cause.  I didn’t necessarily actually raise money, but I learned by watching others and paying attention.

3. PERSPECTIVE.  After my abortion, I felt at a deep and visceral level, the total lack of connection between what I went through and what I experienced and everything I heard out there in the world.  This seemed crazy to me – that after all these years and all these women having abortions that the debate remained locked in an us-them battle and pretty much fighting over the same old things.  By studying the ways conflict grows and how it affects its participants, I saw the debate through the lens of war and peace.  In deciding how to meet the need for nonjudgmental support, I also knew that we had to create a whole new way to talk about abortion and that we had to step outside the status quo and create something new.  We did.  Pro-voice: the idea, belief and strategy that the voices and experiences of women who have had abortions will lead the way out of war and towards peace.  We don’t know what the debate will look like in 10 years – but a pro-voice approach guarantees that it will not only be different, it will be grounded in the reality of those who live this issue every day.  That is a peace strategy.

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Conspiracy Theory Take-Over

What if we assume Alex from the controversial NYT story about surrogacy knew exactly what she was getting herself into all along???  After reading all the letters to the editor about “how could the editors do this to her” and “did no one tell her?” and “why the photos b/c they show this for what it is?” and questioning her lack of guilt about her privilege and the total lack of critical analysis about the class dynamic at play…I have to wonder…  I don’t think Alex is any dummy.  She’s been writing for the NYT for a long time, she probably knows a lot of stuff, including how people perceive characters in stories and form opinions through pictures.   She doesn’t have to gravel in guilt about her white privilege or take some high road to explain it all away – all she has to do is tell the story as she lived it and that, alone, provides all of us with the cold, no-holds barred  truth of class privilege in America.   It gave us all the chance to see it for what it truly is. And, from what I can tell from the letters and the blogs…people saw it, loud and clear.

And, maybe, this is what she planned all along.

Or not.

But, her candor,  is gold, b/c now we all know – we are not crazy, this is truly how privilege works.  Now, we can do something about it.

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