I am deeply invested in the local South Sound community and building dialogue that sparks equitable social change. My passion is for people and finding the connections between us. I studied theatre and interdisciplinary arts throughout middle and high school (Vancouver School of Arts and Academics) and undergraduate studies (BA in Theatre Arts, Anthropology/Sociology, and French from Kalamazoo College ‘13). My graduate degree (MPA from The Evergreen State College ‘18) and professional work have focused on organizational development, education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. I practice Playback Theatre with the local improvisational troupe the Heartsparkle Players and am launching a new joint-venture with WSM called the Brave Practice Playback Theatre Collective. Brave Practice uses Playback as a way to help people connect in diverse community through deep listening, storytelling, and making art with empathy. Our mission is to use theatre as a way to practice bravery in community so that each of us is more prepared to be courageous in our everyday lives. I live in Olympia, WA (Land of the Nisqually, Coast Salish, Squaxin Island, Cowlitz, and Chehalis People) with my life partner, Chaney, and an adorable lesbian menagerie of pets.
Curator of Community Storytellingelaine@windowseatmedia.org
I am an oral historian, multimedia storyteller and educator and the mother of two small children. I feel most at home as an interviewer, editor, and curator, and I love facilitating learning communities. I am fed by conversation, and I crave time alone. I am a voracious consumer of ideas and stories. Window Seat Media offers me, an introvert by nature, an opportunity to connect with people and try to make sense of the complexity and contradictions of the human experience. It is an honor and a gift to be have the opportunity to sit with others, to ask them questions about their lives, and then to share a bit of their truth and wisdom with others.
I hold a B.A. in cultural and community studies from The Evergreen State College and a Masters from the University of Oregon in Interdisciplinary Studies: Folklore, Anthropology, and Journalism.
I am a Chicano advocate who was raised by two strong women who have contributed to my advocacy, my mother Miriam, and my grandmother Maria. While growing up in a Mexican community in Southern California, there were stories of my family overcoming issues and barriers when they first moved to the United States. Overcoming those experiences have not only fueled my passion to listen to others but to help provide a platform for our community to be heard.
As a Community Navigator and Education Advocate at CIELO, I have been able to help community members access resources. With that outreach, I’ve built many relationships and with those connections come stories of peoples past. Stories that tell me of an experience and path they took to be where they are today. I believe it is important to have places such as Window Seat Media in our community to document our diverse stories that inspire others.
I’ve been retired for the past five years. For the twenty-five years before that, I was very fortunate to lead the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County. I currently do activities that help me be mindful in the moment, that keep my body strong and flexible, that promote peace and justice in the wider world, and that feed my soul with all the beauty and pleasure of being alive.
I want to promote any activity that encourages human connection and empathy. Telling and listening to each others' stories is such a powerful way to promote connection. Window Seat Media offers so many creative and varied ways to connect with each other. If our species is going to survive, we have to transcend our fears and hatreds of the ‘other’.
I am a queer filmmaker, writer, and multimedia artist. My debut book, Moss Covered Claws, came out from Blue Cactus Press in March 2021. You can order it at bluecactuspress.com. I have also been published in the Forest Avenue Press collections Dispatches From Anarres and City of Weird. I have directed and written three feature films, a dozen-ish short films, and four web series—with my film work being presented at the Olympia Film Society, Northwest Film Forum, Grand Cinema, and Trans Stellar Film Festival. I usually find myself in old haunted buildings or overgrown swamps.
In this my 75th year, I realized that I wasalways attracted to problem solving in collaboration with others. It may havestarted in 2nd grade when I noticed that some classmates werestruggling with the lessons while others had no issues. I asked my teacher ifwe could organize in groups to assist each other. That same pattern of engagingled me to creating: activities for neighborhood youth; car pools; peacemarches; conferences for women; safe spaces for those struggling to escapeviolence and persecution; and welcoming environments for helping to developfriendships in the community. All came to be in between marriages, motherhood, college,careers in legal and social service. Learningnew things and being enhanced by collaborating with others came with everyendeavor.
It seems this is the path that I will always be on. Itbrings me peace, joy, and fulfilment and confirms a quote from my faith thatstates “work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship” –Bahai.
Participation with Window Seat Media fits with my life path.
I recently retired after 24 years of teaching labor studies at The Evergreen State College in the Evening and Weekend program. Before my teaching career, I ran printing presses and sorted mail, delivered it, and did customer service for the post office. I was a steward and newspaper editor for the American Postal Workers Union and consider myself a lifelong labor and social justice worker. I’m fortunate to share my home in Olympia with my wonderful husband and sweet dog. You might see me running local streets or flailing away out on tennis courts.
It was the power of ordinary people’s stories that sparked my interest in labor history and helped me understand that history is something that we do to make meaning, not a litany of dates and names. Documentary films, oral histories, and student projects have always been at the center of the learning communities I have tried to create as a college or union-based educator.
I’m excited to join Window Seat Media’s board because I have been so impressed with the work that Elaine and others have done in building community and telling unheard truths.