Thursday, July 28, 2005

What's Going On... my life. A random assortment of things really, but most of them quite good...

1. Been dealing with unpacking, cleaning up the old apartment, and settling into my new place in Oakland. Although I love my apartment and the neighborhood we're in, our noisy downstairs neighbors have been difficult to deal with. But they've been responsive to our complaints so far, so there's still hope.

2. Excited about my work co-coordinating an upcoming conference on social justice fundraising and movement building--how does money work in our organizations? How is fundraising connected to building power? What does tax policy have to do with creating a truly just and democratic society where people's needs are taken care of? All these questions and more will be addressed in what promises to be a kick-ass conference. Keep on the lookout for updates here, but it may be a while: the conference isn't until August 2006! But in the meantime I get to work with some amazing fundraiser-activists, like Kim Klein and Stephanie Roth, mine and many others' personal fundraising gurus.

3. In other fundraising news, an interview that I did with Wes Mukoyama, the Executive Director of the Yu-Ai-Kai Senior Center in San Jose, will appear as the cover story in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal next month (I think). The story's about how Wes was very resistant to asking for money from individuals when he first started out in a local training for non-profit fundraisers, and how he made the conversion to be a fabulous fundraiser who has raised a bunch of money for his organization and is about to launch a big capital campaign to improve their facilities. It's great to have my political and writing worlds come together in such a practical way that will actually help people with real everyday problems.

4. I'm in the process of setting up a small writing group of VONA alums with E. and others. Going to try to meet weekly, which will be excellent for my writing. I'm still writing between a half hour and an hour a day, and getting a lot of pages done. Working on a short story about a man obsessed with time as well as on my sci-fi novel entitled, tentatively, 'The Flight to Hass-Olam".

5. Gearing up at work for possible elections madness, if Arnold decides not to cancel this stupid special election in November. One of the issues we might work on is Proposition 73, which would require girls under the age of 18 to get their parents' permission before they can get an abortion. Even if CFJ doesn't work on it, I will somehow on my own. This shit is just sick and wrong.

6. And on a related note, I am glad to announce the premier of a new publication devoted to the complex, touching and often painful stories of women who have had abortions, Our Truths/Nuestras Verdades. It's available in both English and Spanish. I worked on the advisory board for the publication for a time and worked on the submissions committee. This is a much-needed publication that helps women break the often stifling silence—from both the right (who want to call women who've had abortions lost sinners, selfish whores or worse) and the left (which often wants to act as if having an abortion is as easy as walking to the corner store for some aspirin). I'm proud that I was involved in this publication and know it will have a big impact on the lives of many women and girls out there.

7. Lastly, got to see the end-of-summer-school recital of S., a friend's son. The summer school--I believe it's called Oakland Fine Arts Summer School--provides all-day arts programming for kids through the 5th grade. It was so cute...the kids (just about all Black, Latino and Asian) sang Stevie Wonder and Thelonius Monk songs, danced to Chinese music, and even did comedy sketches that they wrote themselves! The recital brought a lot of light into my day.

I hope your days are full of light, blessings, beauty and justice,

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