Coordinator for the Oregon Synod Disaster Response & Preparedness Team
I’m the descendent of German Lutherans and the child of a teacher and a preacher, who raised me in small-town Minnesota. A yearning to discover my vocation and learn about the practices of liberation theology and popular education led me to El Salvador. The people and stories I encountered raised for me an entirely new set of questions about the world and my place in it, questions I continue to live into today. In 2004, I moved to Portland, where I currently live with my partner, Stephen, our two children, AJ & Tovik, and our beloved housemates, Plutarca, Guadalupe, Laura & Odie. For the past two decades, I’ve lived the both/and of heartbreak and heart-strength, organizing for justice with immigrants, rural and small-town Oregonians, and faith communities across the state.
In my work as an oral historian and community organizer in movements for economic and immigrant justice, I’ve witnessed over and over again how people on the margins are often hardest hit by disasters and at the forefront of efforts to prevent & mitigate them. So… in the face of increasingly severe and frequent disasters, fueled largely by human-induced climate change, and with the earnest, persistent questions of my 8-year-old daughter (“What can we do to stop this, mama?”) echoing in my heart, I wonder:
How might engaging in the deeply relational work of grieving, healing & repair – of ourselves, our communities, and our planet – help us be better prepared to respond to disasters of all forms?
What are our responsibilities to one another – and especially to the most marginalized amongst us – in the face of disaster?
What can we learn from our wisdom traditions, our Indigenous siblings, and our other-than-human kin, about readiness, resilience, and recovery?
I’m eager to discern and explore these questions alongside the congregations, communities, and partners of the Oregon Synod.