Each month, we share the stories of World BEYOND War volunteers around the world. Want to volunteer with World BEYOND War? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: Portland, OR, USA
How did you get involved with anti-war activism and World BEYOND War (WBW)?
I am very new to anti-war activism and World BEYOND War! My introduction to both was a 6-week online WBW course I took this summer, War and The Environment, which completely changed how I think about climate justice activism. Prior to the course, I had been working with several environmental organizations in the Portland area but none of them ever mentioned the military.
The course opened my eyes to the social and environmental devastation wrought by imperialism and militarism while addressing why we often don’t hear about the military’s role from larger environmental nonprofit organizations. I still have so much to learn, but by the end of the brief course, it felt clear to me that demilitarization is crucial to protecting people and planet in the long-term, so here I am!
What kinds of volunteer activities do you help with?
I am currently working with WBW Board President Leah Bolger on the No Bases Campaign Team to revamp our section of the World BEYOND War website. We aim to make it easier for any visitor to the page to quickly learn what the campaign is all about and how they can support the work!
What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with WBW?
Sign up for a course! I can’t imagine a better way to both become more educated about the context for World BEYOND War’s work as well as learn about the variety of ways you can contribute to it. The course I took even included optional assignments, so you can start contributing to the movement right away. During the course I developed social media content, engaged my friends and family in conversation, and wrote poetry all with the support of the course instructors and other activists.
What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?
The patience, resilience, and tenacity of all the advocates for justice who came before us never fail to keep me inspired. Whenever I feel cynicism or doubt creeping in, their examples of what continued resistance can accomplish over time is what keeps me going. Giving up is the easiest route and it’s one I never intend to take, no matter how grim reality may feel at times.
How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your activism?
Prior to the pandemic, I was attending and photographing 1-2 protests per week and was starting to build relationships with activists in Portland. It was inspiring and motivating to see the same people returning week after week and hear their stories. When the coronavirus first halted many of our activities, admittedly it took me a couple of months to adapt to the new reality. I went from being out in front of city hall every week and trying to attend every event I could find to sheltering-in-place in my small studio apartment with my partner. Now I’ve adapted and have been finding ways to utilize my skills remotely, like helping with a webpage redesign using Zoom and virtual whiteboards. I also recently joined a fundraising team with the Black Resilience Fund in Portland and manage some of the GoFundMe upkeep and am learning to write grants — both things I can also do from home!
Posted December 8, 2020.