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.


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.”


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.


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.


A Westchester Activist spent 6 months interning for the Clinton Foundation

IMG_2278I am finding that every activist has interesting stories about their life experiences, which led them to become actively involved.

Lisa is a local girl who enjoys living in the moment, free spirited and isn’t afraid of experiencing life and all that it offers.  Moving to Washington after college she quickly became interested in Washington politics, this eventually led her to obtaining a graduate degree from John Hopkins University in Public Policy.

Whilst in the degree program, Lisa spent six months interning at the Clinton Foundation in Harlem, an experience she shared with me in depth. Not only did the interns work closely with Bill Clinton as a mentor, the twenty interns from all over the world formed a close bond.  In the book I will write more in depth about her experience working in the foundation.

Lisa’s understanding of the legislative process is invaluable for Indivisible Westchester, she works with the IW Immigration Committee, who are closely following all the players trying to put together the County Immigration Legislation, which we are all hoping will be voted on, and get enough votes to avoid a veto, on Monday.  This crucial legislative document will protect innocent, undocumented immigrants in our community from Trump’s new agenda of wanting local police to cooperate with ICE.  Once this hopefully gets approved, the IW team will be working on DACA issues.

As White Plains (where she lives and is co-chair of the local group) is in good, political shape at a local level, Lisa feels better served working in committees on specific County agendas, and building relationships with other Indivisibles across the county.

There will be more about Lisa’s time at the Clinton Foundation, and why she returned to Westchester instead of pursuing a career in Washington, in our book about Westchester Women Resistors due out late September.  Lisa’s another example of a fabulous woman I am so pleased to have met, who works hard at making a difference in our community.


Environmental Activism in Westchester County

IMG_2277I sound like a broken record, once again my meeting with Nancy was a learning experience about women who are passionate about issues affecting our county, and the time and effort they spend protecting this fragile environment for later generations.

Since joining Indivisible Westchester, and learning about the many issues our county is facing I had searched for someone to explain the pipeline and Indian Point to me. Nancy’s personal involvement fighting the pipeline, and her informational website written simply for the lay person to understand, meant after spending an hour and a half with her I now understand the enormous destructiveness and lack of concern for local residents’ safety this expanded pipeline poses.  Sad to say this federal battle began during the Obama administration and his determination not to get oil from Russia anymore.

As Indian Point is a hot topic currently being discussed, Nancy explains that the electricity produced by the plant isn’t needed by the State, and when the plant stops production, if done responsibly, this process will take twelve years, guaranteeing employees job retention until their retirement.

For more information about these environmental issues visit Nancy’s website: http://www.senrg.org  and let’s all support her run for the Westchester County Board of Legislators in District 1.  Our book will have plenty more information about Nancy’s interesting life and experiences.  I guarantee you too will be impressed by her story.



Making Changes at the Village Level

FullSizeRenderMolly was raised in West Harrison and now lives in Croton,  so she as always been a Westchester resident.  Her father ran for Mayor and Supervisor for the town of Harrison in the 80’s, so she has always been aware of politics operating on a local level.

This powerful image of Molly was taken by a Getty images photographer at a December protest in New York City, on the eve of the electoral college vote. The next day it went viral, both nationally and internationally, appearing in The Guardian, Time, NPR and NBC, to name but a few places.  Protesting is new to Mollie, but she thoroughly enjoys the thrill, giving her a sense of usefulness, and she loves meeting fellow demonstrators.

As a resident of the village of Croton on Hudson, Mollie understands the complex issues surrounding the Town of Cortland. The biggest issues at large being the imminent closure of Indian Point, and the pressing urgency, under this current administration, to form sanctuary cities, both on a village or town level, and also the current urgency to obtain immigrant legislation on a county level.

Molly became a democratic leader in March and also is on the Croton Indivisible’s Immigration task force.  As a working, single mom, I admire Mollie’s enthusiasm and energy to stand up for those who don’t have a voice.  More of my interview with Mollie will be discussed in our book.