Tikkun Olam, which means “repairing the world,” is a Jewish value that has been one of the main guiding influences in both my personal and professional lives. Before I could even articulate the importance of this in my own values system, I felt compelled to fight for social justice and to serve as a change agent in my own community. I believe we are all responsible for each other and we each must do our part in making the world a more just and equitable place.
My paternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors in Romania, and this family history has always shaped my view of the world and informed my opinions on freedom and equality. A family legacy of overcoming discrimination, injustice, and persecution is not unique, but it has certainly guided my work and career decisions as I’ve sought different ways to fight these injustices. My mother has also dedicated her life to serving others – she has worked as a labor and delivery nurse for over thirty years. As a young girl, I remember going with her to the hospital for Take Your Daughter to Work Day (started by the Ms. Foundation for Women) and watching her dedicate her time to women’s reproductive rights and their ability to make decisions about their own bodies and futures. Growing up with these strong examples from my family instilled a lifelong passion for human rights, social justice and equality.
I have always felt strongly that my professional decisions and career path should reflect my personal values; being a part of the ACLU of Virginia enables me to act on this dream every day. One of the main reasons I decided to work for the ACLU of Virginia is the fact that this organization has the power to address systemic change, not just help individuals one by one. While there are many grassroots organizations working on similar issues, the ACLU has always been at the forefront of integrated advocacy and impact litigation. For me, the most compelling facet of our work is the unique ability to effect societal change by using each aspect of this organization’s work – advocacy, litigation, and public education. This is a powerful trifecta that harnesses our collective impact and creates a myriad of opportunities to defend the foundations of our democracy, now more important than ever. I also believe that we are so effective because of the intersectionality of our work. Although the breadth of our mission is vast, each of our issue areas are connected to one another, and this provides a powerful platform for our work.
In my role as the director of philanthropy, I work with our donors across the Commonwealth to support the ACLU of Virginia’s mission and create opportunities to align our work with a donor’s philanthropic priorities. It is a privilege to connect with our supporters by sharing meaningful updates on our work and issue areas and learning about what drives their generosity when it comes to protecting civil liberties and civil rights.
I am continuously inspired by and grateful for the dedication and passion of our supporters, partners, and staff who work tirelessly every day to protect our freedoms and move Virginia forward. As the ACLU of Virginia celebrates its 50th anniversary, I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of our continuing story.