Young Donor Spotlight: Erica Gordon
As 2018 comes to an end, we look back on some of our greatest achievements of the year. None of these would have been possible without you: our friends, readers, supporters, and donors. We are inspired by our young supporters who recognize the importance of our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. This month we interviewed one of our young recurring donors, Erica Gordon, on why she feels YW Boston’s work is important:
How did you first connect with YW Boston?
Erica Gordon: I knew generally of the important racial equity programming of YWCAs when I moved to Boston from Milwaukee in mid-2015, but my first connection with YW Boston was my attending the October 2016 event Beyond Equal Pay: Achieving Equity in Boston for All Women and Girls. The panel discussion featured all four female Boston City Councillors at the time – and both the conversation and the energy in the audience, made me realize I should be paying much more attention to YW Boston. Seeing that honest discussion also made me reconsider a possible role in future policy work. I much more closely followed the women on the stage after that — and continued to find others.
What compelled you to be a donor to YW Boston, are there specific programs you want to support, certain areas of the mission? Can you share a bit about why you give monthly as opposed to donating once a year?
EG: The aforementioned event’s focus on the need for more women in leadership roles to represent the diversity of the female experience really made me want to support the work YW Boston does, immediately. Staying connected to YW Boston and offering my support to its vital mission genuinely felt like the way to be closest to the most important work happening in the city. I donated once or twice the year following that event and then more recently I started giving monthly. Giving monthly is a way for me to pay more attention to the work on a regular basis and feel a bit more connected in my small way to YW Boston’s work all year long. I like that it allows me to automatically give throughout the year and also that I can sometimes provide additional support if there’s a specific need or ask.
YW Boston offers a wide variety of event programming focused around our mission. Have you attended any of these events recently and if so how might have they inspired you?
EG: In addition to that first panel I attended, I went to Hunger, It’s a Woman’s Issue, one of the #ElevatingLives2017 events, and this past year’s Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon. I’ve left each YW Boston event with at least one new piece of information, feeling inspired and wanting to do more, feeling more connected to the work and community, and connected to more inspiring people either in person or on social media. I also try to follow events I can’t attend on Twitter, so I appreciate the event hashtags a great deal!
As you know YW Boston is refining our mission to focus on the intersection of race and gender, particularly for women of color. As a white woman, how do you engage in this work?
EG: I’m trying to do more, give more, and speak up more, while at the same time taking a backseat. I take in a lot about the world on Twitter and in the last five years or so, I’ve followed more and more women of color. While I know people of color and women are not monoliths—the latter of which was so helpful to really take in at that first YW Boston event I attended—I want to be in close proximity to voices of people who have different experiences than I’ve had as a white woman moving about this world. One specific way I engage is financially, which is why I donate to YW Boston and other organizations (including specific and timely asks from Black Lives Matter/Showing Up for Racial Justice when I can). I know I still can grow and do better, but I refuse to sit idly by when I see inequities we’re not talking about enough.
You work for a nonprofit doing important work as well! Can you share with us a little bit about the work of Community Resources for Justice?
EG: I do! I started my current role at the Crime and Justice Institute, a division of Community Resources for Justice, in late November. It’s a national organization committed to working to improve the delivery of justice and public safety at local, state, and national levels. I’m newer to the criminal justice system and am still taking in lots and lots about research, important organizations, history, context, and acronyms. At the same time, I’m so incredibly excited to jump in and think about how to share impact and stories with people in a more inclusive way, for both people who are connected to the system and those who are not.