LOCATION: Brooklyn, NY
Tell us about yourself outside of NEAT volunteering! (e.g. work, family, hobbies)
I love living in NYC and can never see myself leaving this city and everything it has to offer- I love going out to theater and concerts whenever I have the opportunity and I am lucky to have several opportunities. For family- I am closest with my cousins in Maryland and see them many times a year And because I cannot get enough of volunteering, I work at a non-profit as a Community Engagement Manager to get groups to volunteer at social service programs including homeless shelters and supportive housing residences around the Greater New York area for luncheons, holiday parties, story-times, painting or gardening, and more.
What's your connection to LGBTQ+ justice work?
I started volunteering for phone banks and canvassing for Marriage Equality USA and the Human Rights Campaign in 2011, and while I am still involved with HRC in coordinating Prides, Community Events, and Gala, staying involved with MEUSA and The NEAT is one of the most rewarding experiences for me and part of my life.
What is your volunteer role(s) at NEAT? What inspired you to get involved?
At The NEAT I phone bank whenever I can and I have led phone banks too. Going back to MEUSA, it gave me the opportunity to get involved in tangible ways and ways that I saw results changing hearts and minds with those I have spoken with over the phone.
One memory I have is when we were phone banking to Indiana in 2014 (when Mr P the current VP was governor- eesh) for marriage equality. Residents of Indiana identify themselves as “Hoosiers” and of course we made the connection as citizens in Whoville a-la How the Grinch Stole Christmas (and Mr P was clearly the Grinch). It was a tough campaign but we found ways to keep our spirits up. Tracy, who was the lead for our phone banks helped us out a lot with this, and with the theme, I freehand drew a portrait of “Cindy-Lou Hoosier” on our whiteboard who compelled us to keep going and to ask “Why, Mr P*****? Why do you deny loving couples of Indiana basic civil rights same as everyone else?”
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering with NEAT?
Do it! You can do it on your own time give as much as you can on a schedule that works for you. Trust me, you will see in front of your very eyes (or ears) someone changing their entire views because you took the time to reach out and connect with them on this issue and show them a different point of view and talk with them about it.