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As the I.W. co-leader, this activist exemplifies the spirit of democracy

15327341_10210204701865400_7320406615845401522_nEvery Activist brings a different set of skills to the table, from their life experiences. As our community grows and we begin to get to know one another better, by supporting issues in both local towns and on a county level,  I appreciate the valuable leadership  of Shannon and Verena. They gently and quietly sustain a strong level of engagement within the community.

Sitting and chatting with Shannon this afternoon felt like being with one of my girlfriends from back home. She is smart, warm, witty and informative.  Having been a Washington journalist Shannon understands how activism “ties into the accountability aspect of being a journalist” in that there are no free passes to any party members.  She explains that it is an activist’s role to defend democracy by being engaged in the community. This new role also means that her primary concern is making sure all Americans understand it is their civic duty to be involved in their local and state politics because that is where they can create the change.

There will be more in our book about who her high school crush was that catapulted her interest in politics, and what motivates her to get out of bed in the morning these days.

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A Westchester Activist who fully embraces the Indivisible guidelines

1544968_10202100097837721_932169432_nAs Dobbs Ferry and Irvington’s Indivisble Westchester co-chair, Shari takes on a strong leadership role by mobilizing their members to take notice and be active in their towns and on a County level.

Shari has a strong voice and a natural ability to get things done, whilst following along with the format suggested in the Indivisible guidelines.  In her own words: “By being engaged we can make a difference and take things in the right directions.” She definitely understands this on a local level.

Similar to other women I meet, Shari has the ability to reign in her focus and get specific tasks accomplished.  No matter how large the parameters are you can always depend on her getting the job done.  What I am finding with activists, we find the areas we are good at and run with them.  Activism certainly has a creative quality to it.  There is far less restrictions than being a party member.  However, there is a wonderful “marriage” occuring between local activists and progressive democrats throughout the County.

A strong feminist, who supports pro choice issues, and a life long Hillary Clinton supporter, juggles many responsibilities, having a full-time job and a family.  But Shari’s strong leadership skills, her ability to show up to numerous events around the County, and her strong voice at meetings mean that she will be at the frontlines of activism for a long time to come.

More about her job, her disability and other passions will be in our book, which I am still hoping to have published around October.

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Activist Amy Siskind’s Weekly Lists Creatively Archives the Current Regime

FullSizeRenderAs political activism continues to grow around the country, we also need to highlight Westchester women activists who are working parallel to Indivisible Westchester. Their daily actions, about a variety of issues, are an important contribution for raising public awareness to this ongoing saga at a national level.

Amy Siskind’s heroine Eleanor Roosevelt instilled in her the mantra of choosing courage over fear.  So after hearing Hillary Clinton speak in May 2006, as Amy was about to leave her Wall Street career behind her, she was immediately motivated to start an organization called The New Agenda, whose goal is to empower women to find their voice and become leaders both in the corporate and political arenas.  This bi-partisan organization primarily targets and appeals to millennial women.

As grassroots movements grow and become sustainable, I asked Amy how she gained so much traction in such a short time since the election, as her weekly lists are now being archived in the Library of Congress.  She responded that her voice has been out there since 2008 when she started writing about themes her organization were interested in raising.  During that time she began writing for The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast.  Her first published article in The Huffington Post:  Sexism Against Conservative Women is Still Sexism, about Sarah Palin was a lightening rod concept in 2008.  And gained her plenty of attention.

Having been a Wall Street trader, Amy understood how to provide to the point, easy to digest information and synthesize it on a daily basis, whilst still remembering what happened five weeks ago. Her ability to transfer this skill to highlight Trump’s agendas fast and furiously is invaluable both today and for future generations.

There will be much more insight into this inspirational lady in our book about Women Activists in Westchester.

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This Westchester Activist Strengthens our Evolving Grassroots Movements

IMG_2382Allison consults companies how to move from operating closed hierarchical organizations to running social networks online and on land.  She stresses the necessity of integrating both and teaches people how to engage others from a more personal approach.

Allison was a pioneer in this field, in 2001 as emails and blogs were taking shape she was fascinated by power – who has it and who uses it. Social media produced a shift in power – from the organization to the individual.

The missing piece prior to this new regime was our complacency in the last ten years to be out on land politically engaging, we remained on social media and performed volunteer work in our communities, whilst forgetting that democracy building relies on citizens being politically involved.

The biggest shift is from broadcasting what we do, it is about leading conversations about issues we are interested in and how to do this together.  Allison says it is by working with you and not at you.

As our grassroots movements grow and evolve, Allison consults us how to stay engaged for longevity, she brings her unique skills and talents into the groups, gently guiding us along as we grow this community together.

There will be many more important insights from Allison in our book.

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A Westchester Activist Advocates for Minorities

IMG_2361Marni’s powerfully strong energy must fill any room she enters.  She exudes passion, positivity and strength. If you haven’t met this lady before, you certainly need to make it your mission to catch up with her, as she brings her creative ability to think out of the box into her local community.

Meeting fellow activists I notice similar traits I share with these women. Marni gets a natural high from meeting complete strangers from all walks of life and enjoys bringing everyone together within our community. I totally understand that passion.

Inspired by Pete Seeger’s philosophy to help people become more engaged, Marni is a natural organizer and an invaluable co-leader of the group “Yorktown Together for the Future”. With her at the helm we expect many necessary changes to eventually take place in Yorktown.

Marni was born deaf and has successfully navigated her disability by remaining positive and proactive. Because of her being a minority who understands isolation, she sympathizes with the plight of immigrants struggling to fit into the cultural norm in America.  Immigrant issues is currently her strongest advocacy work under the current political regime.

In our book you will read so much more about Marni. Her interesting chat with Gloria Steinem in Washington at the Women’s March, her personal journey down the road less travelled and the various organizations she is involved with in Westchester. She is a force of nature brimming over with boundless energy.  Her finally words to me during our interview, totally epitomizes who she is. I asked her why she believes Astorino needs to be gone, her response: “BECAUSE HE IS DEAF.”

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A Peaceful Warrior Westchester Activist

JSK_4515-400x600What strikes me most about the women activists I am meeting is their warmth, compassion and ability to juggle many areas of their life with ease and mindfulness.  Amy epitomizes this lifestyle, and as a clinical psychologist, with a private practice in White Plains, she teaches others to attain mindfulness through cognitive therapy and meditation.

Similar to many of the women interviewed, her overwhelming feeling of utter devastation on election night, caused many meaningful dialogues to take place at school gates the following morning.  These moms primary purpose quickly became researching on line the immediate actions necessary to counteract what was inevitably coming down the political pipeline.

Amy’s professional background promotes action orientation solutions, and fully recognizes the compassionate component of how our country needs to uphold our democratic values for the future of our children. Her professional life compliments the activists’ message.

Our book will describe in more detail how one of the original Indivisible Westchester Administrators contributed to the formation of this amazingly strong and powerful grassroots movement.

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The Indivisible Westchester Co-Founder

IMG_2296Verena juggles various balls in her life.  From volunteer work in her children’s lives to being a Democratic District leader, to being the co-founder of Indivisible Westchester.  Sitting down and chatting with her in the back garden I am impressed by her warmth, humility and gentle strength to get things accomplished behind the scenes.

After obtaining a graduate degree in Public Policy from Duke, Verena worked for Scott Stringer in NYC, and now brings her valuable skills to Indivisible Westchester, by helping to highlight the urgency for change at a Westchester County level.  Volunteering as the Research Committee chair for Indivisible Westchester, Verena’s team establish white papers highlighting all the issues our county is currently facing.

In our book we will learn more about Verena’s story and the formation of Indivisible Westchester.  As many of the women featured in our book talk about the urgency to get locally active after the election results in November, this level of activism in our community has risen and will be sustained for longevity.  Once again I am in awe of how much work activists are producing to create change and make a difference in our county.

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