i was honored to be asked in my role as director of the lgbt alliance at the san francisco based jewish community federation to be one of the three featured keynote speakers at this past weekends northwest student leadership conference (nwslc). along with the workshops that nwslc offered in grassroots organzing and campaign skills avel louise gordly, the former representative and senator of oregon and current adjunct professor at portland state university’s (psu) black studies department and yahaira carrillo, founder and legislative director to the kansas/missouri DREAM act alliance spoke.
my talk was on looking at how we can move forward while staying still yet continue to feel movement although we are within a constantly moving circle of experiences. honestly, i still don’t have an answer. but what I presented is my story of figuring out how to use the tools i have in my proverbial toolbox to work for community change and pay the rent for the past 11-years.
nwslc being the only conference of its kind in the region annually draws 600+ students from around north america, mostly from washington, british columbia, alaska, idaho, montana, california and oregon, to participate. as i entered into the psu ballroom compacted with students to speak on friday night – i had a moment of personal pause. it had been a long-11-years-ago that i was too a student at the university of oregon. at that time, just like i felt on stage last shabbat, i was overwhelmed by the encircling thoughts of my immediate future. it was a humbling beginning to my talk about how i broke through barriers in order to meet my personal goals, find my community and feel some kind of success.
over the weekend as I crashed on the couches of my dearest old-friends across the greatest-hipster-city of portland i understood at a deeper level how instrumental my most authentic relationships are to any form of my success. thank you my dear gabbie’leh, douglas, brooke-e, the hip hapa’leh, theresa, laura mason, ruthie, arthur slepian, christina dobrznski, leslie, morgan mcfadden, ki ki, bonita, jared, stephanie, sal, max-a-million, dr. donnie and ms. susan mund for the love, the friendship, the reminders of everything real and the on-going inspiration. much love.