Sylvia Salazar on Voting, Immigration, and Latinx Organizing in the U.S.

Sylvia Salazar

In The Interview: Episode #18, Ciara Pressler interviews Sylvia Salazar, creator of Tono Latino, computer engineer, and political activist. Sylvia and Ciara talk about… Inspiring political engagement Her perspective as a Latina immigrant and grassroots organizer in the era of America’s current federal administration How she uses her privilege as a white passing Latina woman Educating the Latinx community and inspiring people to vote Sylvia Salazar is a Colombian immigrant and a computer engineer turned political activist. Her passion is helping other people understand what is going on in the world of politics and to encourage them to become more […]

Barbara Chen on the NYPD, Communication Strategy, and Positionality

Barbara Chen

In The Interview: Episode #11, Ciara Pressler interviews Barbara Chen, strategic communicator, independent consultant, and writer. Barbara and Ciara talk about… Nuances of working inside a major city police department Honoring the complexity of complex problems Considerations when shaping a complicated message The danger in seeing police brutality as isolated incidents rather than recognizing the totality and continuum of indignity, injury, and injustice Positionality in the current discourse Barbara Chen is an independent consultant and writer in New York who has held major communications roles at the NYPD, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Columbia University. She moved to Manhattan from L.A. after […]

An American Intervention

whitney plantation

Photo: The author inside a human cage at The Whitney Plantation, the only American plantation restored to honor the memory and plight of enslaved African people. Welcome to the week of waking up. I am watching the stream of Official Statements from various organizations from the back of the room, leaning against the wall with my arms crossed, side of my mouth turned up and brow furrowed. This week of black squares on social media has been what the rainbow logo is to Pride week: easy, convenient, trendy. Meaningless unless followed by tangible, measurable action. Businesses that declare support for […]

That Time I Crashed Bloomberg’s Victory Party

As Seen on TV, 36in x 48in, Oil on canvas

No matter what anyone says, it’s more fun to be on the winning team. Losing with dignity is a nice idea, but a mirage – even Red Sox fans had to invent The Curse so they could feel like they accomplished something every year they were met with a certain pinstriped team from The Bronx. So in the fall of 2005, when the candidate I’d been volunteering for in a pivotal New York City council district won on election night, it felt good to party, good to be thanked, good to be part of the team people wanted for the […]

A New Kind of Revolution: The Politics of Listening

politics of listening

This may not be a popular opinion. I’m writing it anyway because my own integrity requires it. First, I do not like what I see and hear on the news about what is happening in our country. In fact, I became so disempowered by the news that I opted out about 18 months ago. I just stopped paying attention and figured if there was something I needed to know, I’d hear about it eventually. This chafes my mother to no end. I’m not saying this was a good approach nor am I advocating you follow it. I’m just saying it’s […]

The House of Bags

plastic bag

She never called. The police detective on my case never called. She promised me. She promised me she’d call. That’s all I wanted from the police officers. The results. I wanted to know the results of my lab work. If they found a match. A DNA match. My legs were spread wide for the nurses. No tears. Calm. I was so calm as they scraped, pricked, and exposed my body to find answers. Photos. They took photos of my insides. Displayed. My insides were displayed on a large TV screen. I could see. See what I looked like inside. Was […]

October 2019: Approaching Politics

Ciara PreGame Portland Oregon

Even though we’re over a year out from the next U.S. presidential election, we’re already inundated with reports of candidates, campaigns, and controversy. We’ve barely had a breather, and here we are avoiding the 24-hour news cycle again like it’s November 2016. Even if we can find a way to opt out of the minute-by-minute ticker tape of speculation and developments, to live in a society is to deal with politics. We each decide on a level of participation on the political spectrum, from habits of avoidance to a lifetime of public service. Eventually, politics demand interaction, if not on voting […]

Burn, Baby, Burn: Notes From the Ashes of the #MeToo Movement

me too aftermath

Forests recover from wildfires through the germination of seeds that are stored in the earth, some of which need the heat of fire to germinate successfully. Singed trees can sprout new branches that become new trees. In short, many forests benefit from an occasional fire. But what of the business landscape after the wildfire that is the #MeToo movement? It has been nearly two years since the movement spread across the country and then the world, like a climate-change fueled wildfire. The tinder? The untold stories of millions of women who had experienced sexual or physical harassment, assault, or abuse […]

Your Culture is Killing You

Taped Shut Bronze Angel, 2019
Patina bronze
25 x 16 x 18 inches

If you’ve brushed up against corporate hiring practices lately, you’ve probably encountered the concept of Culture Fit—the idea that you should screen job applicants so that you only hire people whose beliefs and behaviors will integrate smoothly into your organization. It’s true that hiring people who don’t integrate well with your company culture can be highly disruptive. If you bring highly-competitive people into a highly-collaborative environment, or order-takers into an initiative-driven system, the outcome can be as hard on your existing staff as it is on the misfit new hire. However, Culture Fit can also be used as a proxy […]