I am a 39-year-old American freelance news reporter and commentator with a history of involvement in left-wing activism, grassroots organizing and liberatory pedagogy.
My writing has appeared in The Athens News, Ohio University Post, Athens Messenger, Athens Agenda magazine and The InterActivist magazine (all in Athens, Ohio — my home from 1999 to 2009, and from 2016 to the present), as well as in the Santa Monica Mirror, Daily Utah Chronicle (Salt Lake City), Arbiter (Boise, Idaho), Observer-Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania), the journal Democracy & Education, The Chronogram magazine (Kingston, New York), The Terminal Journal (Chicago, Illinois), the website Znet, the Psychology Today website, the Alternatives to School website, the Conscious Consumer Network website and the webzine Bettawreckonize (Akron, Ohio).
Meanwhile, my activism and organizing has been covered by many of the above publications, as well as by The Los Angeles Times, Akron-Beacon Journal, Pittsburgh City Paper, Record-Courier (Kent, Ohio), Pitt News, The New People (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Logan Daily (Logan, Ohio), Athens Insider, WOUB Radio and Television (Athens), WTTE Television (Columbus, Ohio), Fox8 Cleveland, and publications of Ohio Citizen Action (Cleveland) and the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network (Athens).
My passions for journalism and organizing emerged simultaneously and have frequently overlapped since.
- During my senior year of high school in 1996 I founded Free Head, an independent, public access magazine created in opposition to the censorship of school authorities.
- In 1998 I co-founded Free Student Press, an organization which, until 2005, educated high school students in southeast Ohio about their First Amendment press rights and basic journalism law while supporting those students in the development of their own publications. Working through FSP during the 1999/2000 school year, I advised independent student publishers immersed in a local free speech fight that ended in victory for the students and the resignation of their school’s principal.
- In 2003 I helped found The InterActivist, an Athens, Ohio-based non-profit monthly magazine that covers social justice issues and regional progressive organizing. From 2005 through late 2008, I served as the magazine’s editor-in-chief, training staff and coordinating overall production of the magazine. I organized The InterActivist to be democratically managed by its staff members in order to maximize their skill development. During my tenure I trained 80 staff members, the vast majority of them young progressive journalists and media activists. The InterActivist is still published today.
During these years I also was heavily involved in the movements against the U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and I helped organize feminist, Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender, anti-racist, student power and worker rights campaigns at Ohio University and elsewhere around Athens. Part of my organizing activities involved writing numerous commentaries related to these campaigns, which were published by several of the print outlets listed above.
Such campaign-related writing included my 2002 exposé of OU’s longstanding violations of the Clery Act, the primary federal law which mandates schools’ responsibilities for informing students and employees of campus crime statistics, reporting procedures, prevention programs and survivor support services. At the time of my Clery Act exposé, more rapes were being reported in OU’s residence halls than those of any other public university in the state of Ohio. I went on to help organize the campaign that not only forced OU into compliance with the Clery Act but also proved instrumental to the creation of OU’s campus women’s center and contributed to OU’s decision to grant domestic partnership benefits to gay and other unmarried OU employees.
However, in addition to all of my advocacy and opinion journalism, I have done a fair amount of straightforward news reporting. My 2007 Athens News cover story on the controversy surrounding Eramet Marietta was then the most in-depth look at the southeast Ohio metals refinery which, according to the Associated Press, posed greater potential health risks to surrounding residents than any other plant in the entire U.S. I covered an earlier labor dispute at Eramet for The InterActivist. Between 2004 and 2008, The InterActivist published my reporting on faculty and student organizing campaigns at Ohio University, as well as talks by visiting lecturers.
In 2009 I left Athens for Portland, Oregon, where I worked a brief stint as Communications Director for the Oregon Student Association, the largest member based advocacy group in the state of Oregon. Later that year I returned to my hometown in Pennsylvania and took a three-year hiatus from writing and political engagement before moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 2012 and finally returning to Athens, Ohio in 2016.
The launch of this website in early 2013 marked my return to writing. Since then I have been published by ZNet, The Athens News and The Ohio University Post. My writing has been referenced by the progressive Jewish Middle East news blog Mondoweiss and by student power writer, lecturer and organizer Patrick St. John. A 2015 interview with me about an attempt to revitalize and expand Free Student Press — an effort lauded by such prominent authors, activists and educators as Noam Chomsky, Ira Shor, Bill Ayers, Dawson Barrett, and Peter Gray — has been published online by Psychology Today, Alternatives to School, the Conscious Consumer Network, and ZNet, and led to my appearance on the webcast “For the Love of Learning — Voices From the Alternative Education Movement”, hosted by Lainie Liberti. In 2015 I also directed and co-produced an hour long documentary and promotional film about Free Student Press.
Most recently I have written on Ohio University’s February 2017 historic mass arrest of student protesters and the unconstitutional policies OU administrators subsequently enacted to suppress campus protest in the wake of President Trump taking office. I also have written about issues of mobile vending and local economic development in Athens in relation to a 2018 controversy.
Currently, I own and operate Hot Potato Food Truck, and I am president of the Athens Mobile Vending Association. I am a founding member of the Southeast Ohio Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America and a founding member of the Athens Tenant Union.
Lastly, I’m running to be Mayor of Athens in the November 5, 2019 general election as an independent democratic socialist — which is certainly giving me the opportunity to do plenty of writing!