Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I’m a medical science writer and the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old living in Northeast Portland. I grew up here and moved back to town with my husband, daughter, and our dog when my daughter was about a year old so we could be close to family. I love spending time outdoors with my family and cooking and eating delicious food.

How long have you been volunteering with Family Forward and how did you get started?

I started volunteering with Family Forward this past winter. One of my goals in moving back to Portland was to get more involved in local politics and find ways to uplift my community. When I learned about Family Forward I was thrilled to find an organization that was fighting some of the most important fights for equity in our state right now. I reached out and was able to get involved in planning a screening of the Zero Weeks documentary in December at Kelly Elementary school. I also attended the lobby day in Salem in February and am looking forward to continuing to be involved in future organizing efforts.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with FFO?

I really enjoy the energy and meeting like-minded people, but the best part is feeling like I’m really making a difference. Paid family and medical leave is such a critical issue that can have a huge impact on our communities in Oregon, and it feels tractable – there’s national political momentum for the issue, and I believe we can build the political will to get the policy passed in Oregon in the 2018 session. Especially in a time when national politics is so incredibly bleak, it feels amazing to feel like you are having an impact on a policy that matters.  

Why is it important to be involved in organizing and activism? What advice would you give others, especially moms and other caregivers, that are struggling to make time to be active in their community?

Since becoming a parent, I’ve felt a strong personal connection to the injustices experienced by other parents and children. When I hear that one in four women return to work within two weeks of giving birth, I feel heartbroken and also aware of my own privilege as someone who was able to take the time I needed (though mostly unpaid) after the birth of my daughter. I feel a responsibility to use the time that I have to help address these injustices. It’s always challenging to find time as a working parent. Fortunately, FFO events are usually child-friendly, and a lot of volunteering/organizing can be done from home or on your own time.

Want to join Neon in becoming an activist in our community? Join an action team in your region! Learn more here.