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Ask Me Anything: Rae Lee (they/them), Communication & Graphic Design Manager

1. What drew you to RVC?

I have not been in the nonprofit world for long (barely 4 years), but already I have been seeing how challenging it is to push back on the roots of white supremacy and divisive narratives that winds through the sector. I really wanted to be in a community that prioritizes building liberatory structures and culture, whether it’s in ourselves or in our work, and saw potential for how RVC could be that place for me. I’ve been really struck by how RVC has demonstrated transparency and accountability; how the org is critically examining its own evolution; and is prioritizing emergent needs amongst the staff, partners, and fellows in a sustainable way.

2. What is your favorite part of your job?

I get to sometimes draw and design for work, which I feel lucky to be able to do. But what I really love is sitting with people and thinking strategically and intentionally about communications, or co-creating in a way that brings everyone into the process and enriching the comms product, whatever it may be, with unique, nuanced perspectives. Getting to work with a cool org like RVC and thinking about how best to tell their story in a way that helps connect with new audiences and deepen shared understanding with their existing community…it’s what really drew me into comms.

Of course, I am also looking forward to going to community events to talk to partners and fellows, as well as taking cute photos!

3. What does being “rooted in community” mean to you?

I think it means really practicing showing up in a way that demonstrates the understanding of how our fates are connected, and staying committed to working through generative conflict and challenges. I think it also means taking responsibility for our own healing and unlearning of oppressive dynamics for the collective transformation of the people and communities we are networked to.

4. What is your vision for the future?

I’ve been really excited to see the waves of unionizations sweeping across the tech and frontline sectors; I would love to see a mass movement that connects up interrelated struggles against oppressive systems. Local-global action and solidarity; scaled up intersectional organizing.

Since I’m visioning big already: Reimagining of extractive and predatory economies. Abolition and reparations.

I’d love to see us envision alternative futures that center transformative justice and healing. I don’t think we can get anywhere when we are stuck in cycles of harm and grasping for power. When we have wide recognition that building systems that raise the conditions for the most marginalized are systems that are actually good for all…I think that will be the future that proves an irresistible alternative to the current framework of dominion.

5. What is your favorite lunch?

I’ve recently been really enjoying cold noodle dishes. I’ve been harvesting lettuce, tiá tô, Thai basil, and using them to build noodle salads with a homemade nước chấm. I also have a bastardized version of naeng-myun that my relatives would shake their heads at.

6. What is the theme song of your life? And why?

“A Fan’s Mail” by Thundercat. Everybody wants to be a cat, indeed.

7. Who inspires you?

I’ve been inspired by many of the local organizing groups such as PARISOL and la Resistencia. Also, I’ve been lucky to have attended the last two Allied Media Conference events, where I was grateful for the opportunity to learn from the Black organizers of Detroit, elders, and movement artists.

8. What is your favorite local business to support?

I’m a fan of Eighth Generation, both for the art and for leading on demonstrating how we can shift conversation & economics around a deeply colonized sector such as the fine art market.

9. Any closing remarks? 

I’m really looking forward to growing together, and meeting all of the amazing fellows and partners that are part of the RVC community!

You can find me at @raeminji or @marginalia_ on Instagram

You can welcome Rae to the team by emailing them at: [email protected]

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