Since we arrived in Ames nine years ago, my family and I have been involved in the Ames UCC, a church with a long and proud tradition of commitment to justice in the community. For the past several years, I have been active in the church’s Social Justice and Outreach committee (SOJO). So, I was very happy to talk with the journalist Danielle Gehr at the Ames Tribune back in June — before I had decided to run for school board — about the church’s work for justice. Here’s the article.

Fifteen months ago, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, SOJO’s then-chair, my late mentor Linda Best, led the church in a process of reflection and discussion. This process ultimately led us to decide to post a Black Lives Matter banner in front of the church. I’m proud of my role in that process. I also still deeply miss Linda, who passed away a bit over a year ago.

Today, as the new chair of SOJO, I am committed to continuing a long tradition of work for justice that is rooted in the work of people like Linda and like my grandparents, who were involved in the civil rights movement in Alabama in the 1960s. We will do this work by talking and listening together, reflecting in good faith on how we can create a community in which every individual is safe, can learn, and thrive.