January 3, 2024 | Category: VAPLP
What is your work focused on?
Environmental and social justice, as well as working to ensure diversity of representation among those who hold elected office at every level. I also work on women veterans’ issues, including military sexual trauma.
How long have you been doing this work? And what motivated you to do this work?
I’ve been involved with equity issues for decades; working on women’s equality and rights for minority groups. Environmental justice and diversity of representation among those who hold elected office are areas where I’ve been working for about six years. As a woman veteran I worked to engage veterans across Virginia in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. My work included press conferences and testimony before the Senate committee. My engagement on environmental issues has become more urgent as we have seen little progress on mitigating the effects of Climate Change. As the Vice Chair on the Board of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, I’ve been working on advocacy from Fairfax County to the Virginia General Assembly. Though I’ve been an LGBTQ+ ally since I was a teenager, I became very active when I saw firsthand the impact of Virginia’s laws (and lack thereof) on my transgender nonbinary adult child. Because all of these issues were so important to me, I ran for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2019 with a focus on equity and environmental sustainability. I think, like most people involved in Social Justice work, we do the work because we know someone needs to step up to create the world we want to live in.
What talent would you most like to grow and develop?
I would love to be able to play harp better and sing. I can barely carry a tune!
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
The Dalai Lama. I’d love to experience his sense of equanimity and peace while in this world.
What is the most exciting thing you have worked on or work you are most proud of?
Getting the Equal Rights Amendment ratified in Virginia–making it the 38th and final state needed–is definitely a highlight. It’s not often one can play a role in changing the US Constitution!! Knowing the positive impacts the ERA will have on everyone is truly fantastic. Once finally in place, it will help people who suffer from domestic violence, bring pay equity, help our transgender family and also much more. Our work on this is not quite done. We need to ensure the ERA is officially enshrined in the Constitution and defend those rights in the courts.
How has VAPLP impacted your leadership journey?
Honestly, the voices of my cohort members and leaders are in my head every time I make a decision. I reflect often on the many discussions we had which challenged me to think deeper and broader; to examine whether I was being fully inclusive. I love seeing my VAPLP family represented in elected office, as leaders in nonprofits, and on boards and commissions.