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I come from a working-class family which has pulled itself up from numerous troubling circumstances. This has made us strong.
I grew up in the blue-collar suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. My neighborhood, like most in Detroit, was extremely homogenous. In Detroit folks tend to "keep to their own." Early in my adult life I bought a condo in a "changing" first-ring suburb of Detroit. I became a board member for my condo association and was uncomfortable at the board meetings as board members sometimes alluded to this "changing" with derogatory undertones. I began to subtly confront them on their views and I believe the dialogues I initiated proactively challenged the way they saw our community.
I later decided to change careers from the field of industrial design to something I felt more aligned with: housing and social justice. I am now over ten years into my new career and proud to be making a difference everyday with the work I do.
I believe in the community organizing model for creating social change because it is rooted in the idea of empowering individuals and communities. I feel it is essential for people to be engaged in creating solutions to their problems, and for them to gain strength and knowledge by doing so.