NAME: Lisa Danz
LOCATION: Fremont, CA
I'm really passionate about solving climate change and social justice. Outside of NEAT, I also volunteer with Citizens' Climate Lobby (focused on passing the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act), Communities for a Better Environment (focused on environmental justice), Fremont for Everyone (focused on housing and homelessness), and Engage Fremont (focused on education justice). I work as a software engineer, and so far have always managed to work for companies that are working on climate solutions. I speak decent Spanish (which sometimes comes in handy when phone banking!), and I'm studying Mandarin Chinese.
What's your connection to LGBTQ+ justice work?
I joined the GSA in high school before I even knew I was queer. I don't really remember why; I just thought it was important. I figured out that I was pan while still in high school (although I think I was using the term "bi" more at the time). While I was in high school, I got an email saying that Sylvia Guerrero (the mother of Gwen Araujo, who was murdered for being transgender) was on a speaking tour. Our GSA got in touch with her agent, and she came to speak at a well-attended assembly at our school.
These days, my main direct volunteering for LBGTQ equality is phone banking with NEAT, although many of my other activities are related.
For example, there's an intersectionality of LGBTQ issues and climate change. LBGTQ folks are more likely to be unhoused, particularly as a percentage of unhoused youth. And because many shelters are religious-based and some religious denominations still discriminate against our community, it can be harder for our people to find appropriate shelter options. And of course, climate impacts such as extreme heat and extreme weather events have more of an impact on people who don't have access to shelter.
What is your volunteer role(s) at NEAT? What inspired you to get involved?
I do phone banking for NEAT. I got involved after the 2016 election, which was super painful and made me want to do something, anything, to help. I got an email from one of the partner organizations inviting me to phone bank with NEAT, and I thought it was a one-time thing, but then Brian called me afterwards and convinced me to start volunteering regularly.
Share a memory from volunteering that sticks out in your mind.
A few years ago, when Brian was traveling out to San Francisco, we managed to set up a time where Brian, Hannah, and I got to phone bank together in person. It was fun to make an in-person connection after so much remote collaboration.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering with NEAT?
Just try it! They'll train you and support you, and if you keep coming back, NEAT starts to feel like a family.