Why do you want to serve on the Board of Directors for the RPFC?
I have long dreamed of a Food Co-op on the northside of Chicago. I grew up in Evanston and lived in Rogers Park for many years. I have visited co-ops in many other cities and revelled in the opportunity to shop in accordance with my values. Rogers Park’s outstanding level of cultural and economic diversity presents a unique opportunity to create a space where the community can connect around food. I have much to bring to the table and would love to be part of manifesting this vision.
What is your passion? How could we see that passion in action in your day-to-day life?
How could we see that passion in action in your day-to-day life? Environmental Education is my passion. That is connecting kids (especially kids of color) and nature, pedagogy and ecology, and by necessity, addressing the climate crisis Any friend or family member would tell you that I frequently engage them in conversation about nature, policy, pedagogy, climate change and related topics. I see food as part of an ecological and social system, and make choices accordingly. I am also known for engaging people in actions to mend the world, in terms of social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. Hosting meetings, bringing friends to events. I am a Home and Hospital Tutor for Evanston School District 65, and these themes infuse my daily work with young people as well.
List some of the organizations, causes, initiatives, and groups of which you have been a part. How do you believe you involvement with these groups have prepared you to serve on the RPFC Board of Directors?
In my professional work as an educator committed to urban public schooling, I am in spaces where I can work with others to interrupt and disrupt the disparity of resources that too often plague Chicago communities. As part of that, I engage with many Chicago public school (CPS) educators in elementary and high schools to support individual students, teachers and families. That work is focused on students with disabilities gaining specialized services, and preparing educators to provide leadership in enabling change. I work with CPS to craft and support new teachers to grow and sustain commitment to Chicago students. I also am part of research projects and community engagement related to that. I have been active at the state of IL level by serving on the Executive Board of the IL Teacher Education Division of the Council of Exceptional Children. I also provide workshops to After School Matters in Chicago. Aside from the professional and service commitments, I am a member of Indivisible Evanston and participated in postcard writing and canvassing for the 2018 national elections.
Describe an experience in which you worked on a team.
- Climate Reality Project Chicago Chapter - I am leading a North Suburban Branch of the Chapter
- Democratic Party of Iowa - Regional Director for Get Out the Vote for Hillary
- Schools are Gardening in Evanston (SAGE) Steering Committee - Instrumental in establishing edible gardens at all Evanston Schools
- Alliance for the Great Lakes - Adopt-a-Beach Captain
- Seeking Excellence in Educational Diversity (SEED) I am currently in a cohort of this group.
- Citizens Climate Lobby, Citizens Greener Evanston - building a coalition between these organizations and Climate Reality Project
- North Branch Restoration Project - long-time habitat restoration volunteer
- Democratic Party of Evanston - Phone Bank Captain Sister District- organized a successful fundraiser for Berta Griffin, a first-time candidate for State Rep in Michigan.
I am a passionate and experienced activist, organizer and educator who brings a green lens to everything I do. I have strong leadership skills and a great ability to connect with and motivate individuals about what matters. My background in education has infused my work in all arenas.
Briefly describe two or three possible ways you could handle the following situation. How you would ultimately act?
You've recently been elected to the RPFC Board. A close friend and local food producer privately asks you to help her business by having the Board publicly denounce the alleged unethical business practices of her closest competitor, whose products are already sold at RPFC. The business owner says she will deeply discount RPFC orders for her product for a year if you help her.
My immediate response to this is that no friend of mine would put me in this situation. Their behavior is unethical. I would however, call the board’s attention to the allegations and suggest that the issue be investigated.
If the allegations prove true, I would likely be inclined to stop business with the producer, however I might be open to more of a restorative justice approach in which they find a way to make amends that works for the co-op and the public. If the practice is egregious, and the producer unrepentant, I would certainly urge the board to discontinue working with them, and possibly seek to spread the word so that other businesses are not duped by this practice.
As for my “friend,” I would be inclined to let the board know about the conversation we had, so that they can weigh in on the ethical boundaries crossed there. Again, it’s possible that we would discontinue doing business with her. Hopefully, there would be constructive conversation in which she sees what she did wrong and seeks to remedy the situation.
It’s also possible that the allegations are false, in which case my friend would also owe the other producer an apology at the very least.
Could you share with us some ideas you may have for owner recruitment to the co-op?
I could see replicating the Climate Reality Project model of training volunteers to present a short slide deck to various organizations to get the word out. As an Evanston resident and activist, I am tapped into several fresh audiences who would be receptive, and even excited about Rogers Park Food Co-op. I could even see organizing a canvass, knocking doors of neighbors to spread the word.