Many things in my life have changed since I left Amherst in 1994, but some things remain constant: I am still working on a UMass campus, still doing union and community organizing, still in a socialist group, and still being nagged by DRE to submit past-due writing.


When David asked me to update the CIE community on my ‘career,’ and kindly offered to draft something from my CV, it struck me that I am on a different track from many CIE graduates. For one thing, I haven’t updated my CV or LinkedIn profile in 10 years! But being committed to revolution doesn’t require dropping out and joining a cult—in my case it meant dropping in, committing to a working-class community and life. I have had paid jobs as a labor educator, union organizer and researcher and have learned a great deal from those, but I believe that my unpaid organizing work as a socialist and community activist are where I have learned and contributed most.


I was reminded by Lois Martin’s death, and by regular chats with Sherry Kane, that I am not alone in this deviation from the advanced degree career norm. And while I was a CIE, I worked with a number of students who organized their lives around liberation struggle in Chile, Southern Africa, Nicaragua and the U.S.


I often quote the Western-Mass folks singer Charlie King: “My life is more than my work, and my work is more than my job.” On the life front, I have lived with my partner Jeff Teixeira, who I met on a picket line in 1992, when we were on strike for UMass recognition of the then nascent Graduate Employee Organization.  (Note to more recent graduate students: that’s how RAs and TAs got health insurance – by forming a union, going on strike, and negotiating contracts!).


After a few years in Ohio where I organized with women office workers for 9to5 and the Service Employees’ International Union, for the past 25 years we have lived in the same Somerville MA neighborhood.  We welcome visitors!  We have raised two children: Samira, 23, a poet who graduated from UMass Amherst in 2019 with a degree in English; and Rui Jose, 17, a podcaster, musician, welder and history buff who is finishing his junior year of High School. Here’s a photo of me and the kids two years ago when we visited Jeff’s family in Northern Portugal.



For the past 10 years, my job has been as an organizer/researcher for a staff union at UMass Boston, the UMass system’s ‘diversity flagship’ and very different from the Amherst flagship, in that UMass Boston students are mostly working class and poor, BIPOC, immigrant and commuter students.


But my work for the past few decades has been as a member of the Massachusetts district of Liberation Road Socialist Organization, a 34-year-old revolutionary socialist organization “dedicated to fighting for a social system where social wealth is not in the hands of a few billionaires, but is controlled by the people.” I had the honor of also serving for 6 years on the elected national leadership body of Liberation Road (LRSO), which gave me a crash course in running a passionate but poor national organization. LRSO is proud of having always focused our work on how racialized capitalism operates, understanding that liberation requires that we fight against both capitalism and white supremacy.


With roots in Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, LRSO has also drawn on diverse thinkers from all over the world to refine and redefine key aspects of our political and strategic line. I have put my CIE Gramsci seminars and Black feminist thought to good use! Participating with so many other dedicated people in developing strategies for building working class power has truly brought to life the idea of ‘praxis.’


Of course, no career update would be complete without mention of publications. Over my two decades as a strategic researcher for community and union campaigns, I have published many research studies and even a book chapter. I write a lot for Liberation Road, and some of my articles are posted on our website. I also do a lot of writing and organizational work to support Union United, a coalition of stakeholders, including small business owners, residents, activists, immigrant groups, religious congregations, labor unions, and community-based organizations that works together to ensure that our working class neighbors are not pushed out by the staggering amount of development taking place in our Union Square Somerville MA community.



When I left Amherst in 1994, I had passed my comprehensive requirements and started dissertation research on the question of ‘what do people learn through participating in social justice movements?” For a variety of reasons, I never completed the dissertation; but I have been able to spend a lot of the rest of my life trying to answer that question.[5-21]




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