As I reflect on my time as the Coordinator for the San Jose Peace & Justice Center, I am reminded of how much I have grown through this experience.
Initially, I reached out via the Center’s website with an application to volunteer. I had moved from across the country about a year prior and I wanted to get engaged locally. Michele and I hit it off from our first meeting, and I knew right then that the Center could offer me the potential to become a member of the San Jose community.
The job opportunity for Coordinator opened up, and after interviewing I accepted the job offer in November 2019. Since then, I’ve worked closely with interns and volunteers who I’ve seen grow throughout their time at the Center and have taught me more than they could know. I’ve engaged with leaders at the Center who graciously shared their personal histories with the organization. I’ve collaborated with various community members and groups to put on events and provide mutual aid throughout the pandemic.
I’ve learned more about the real systemic injustices that plague our society and how peoples’ intersections of privilege have a direct impact on their level of struggle. I’ve also learned about the concept of transformative justice and how cultivating community care can make a life changing (and in some cases life saving) impact on individuals and groups.
I’ve attended countless vigils, rallies, and protests which I would not have known about if it weren’t for my involvement with this downtown-based San Jose activism hub. I’ve learned that using my voice, and more importantly putting my voice aside to listen to individuals who have been the most impacted by injustices, feels like nourishment for my mind, heart, and soul.
I’ve met countless individuals who have changed my life for the better – genuine, passionate, humble, welcoming people – and I know that these connections will not falter despite my departure from the Center.
Most of all, I want to share my immense gratitude for Michele Mashburn who has been the best boss I’ve ever had and will ever have, an irreplaceable personal mentor, and a fiercely loyal friend. She’s taught me so much and has given me endless opportunities to follow my intuition. She has been supportive of my difficult decision to resign from my role as Coordinator at the San Jose Peace and Justice Center and for that I am incredibly thankful.
To everyone who has known me as a staff member at the Center or has met me through the Center in other ways, thank you for making my time here so rewarding. San Jose has become my home because of you.