Recent Encounters

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

on tuesday night andrew defranza, the executive director of harborlight community partners and one of my closest friends, spoke at the north shore emergent cohort about the personal cost of social justice. andrew’s talk focus on the economic implications of working for a nonprofit – i.e., it’s very challenging for a nonprofit worker to support her family if she is not in upper management and there are only so many seats at that table – as well as the unexpected realities that upend many idealistic nonprofit employees – i.e., the more direct service you provide to the people you care about, the less money you make; providing direct services can blind you to the systemic realities that produce the inequities you are desperate to address.

andrew’s talk was a short form of the hard-won wisdom that he’s been sharing with me for years. hearing him reminded me that i am still idealistic enough to fight the (probably) eventual movement towards more administrative functions and i definitely need to simultaneously reduce my obsession with helping individuals with disabilities navigate their barriers to success and invest more energy in understanding the inequities in the system that effect the disabled community at large.

andrew’s talk was terrific, the turnout was great and i am tempted to get more lecture opportunities in front of groups like the boston faith and justice network on andrew’s slate. if you have reflections on the talk that took place during the meeting or over drinks after, please share.

in lighter news, on wednesday morning i asked the twitterverse “how long will it take me to offend the doctrinaire liberals who attend leadboston?” the answer, dear readers, is 40 minutes.

during group introduction time, in which we were asked to provide name, vocation and an unexpected fact about ourselves i said something like the following: “my name is jeff gentry. i work with triangle, an organization that empowers people with disabilities and their families throughout eastern massachusetts. the funny fact about me is that i was introduced to my current line of work while participating in an alleged felony that ultimately did not lead to a conviction, but to a career.” as soon as i said the word felony, i spied an emphatic grimace on our facilitator’s face and knew that i was going to have a story to tell at cocktail hour.


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