meet danielle west rg’s new development director!

I’m danielle marilyn west, or danni, the new Development Director at RG! My hope in writing to you is share about my story, my background and orientation to what we are trying to do together: build and be transformative leaders for the redistribution of land, wealth, and power.

I’m 32 and have been an organizer for over half of my life. I come from a buffer-class family and was raised by working-class parents in a wealthy, system-aligned suburb of Dayton, Ohio. My father was raised on a farm in Northern Ohio (my people on both sides have been settler-occupiers of land in Ohio for many generations, and I regularly marinate on what the implications are to me in terms of material and spiritual accountability and reparation) and, before retiring, he was a professor at a state school in southwestern Ohio. My mother was raised in Akron, Ohio, where the family (and after her father died, her single-mother worked) for Goodyear Tire Company. My Mother’s paid work was from labor as a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and as a religious educator with the Unitarian Universalist faith. Both of my parents have bachelors and graduate degrees. To use a phrase I … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Resource Generation members on Top Rank podcast!

Resource Generation members on Top Rank podcast!

Top Rank is a Brooklyn-based print publication created by, for, and about women of diverse backgrounds who are driving and shaping creative, activist, and intellectual fields.

Resource Generation member-leaders Dominique Tan and Holly Fetter talk about showing up for wealth redistribution, economic, and racial justice as young folks with class privilege.

The conference mentioned in the above podcast episode, Making Money Make Change, is coming up in October. Registration is now open. Learn more here.

Resource Generation is the only organization in the U.S. organizing young people with wealth toward the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. As a result of becoming a member of Resource Generation, our members end up giving away 16-times more money to economic and racial justice organizations than they did before. Learn more and support our work by becoming a member here.

If you need help figuring out your class background, check out our definition of wealth and/or fill out this intake form to have one our national organizers reach out to you. 

 

 … Continue reading »

Posted in: Action

Triangle NC RG’s Campaign to Protect Durham Housing!

Triangle NC RG's Campaign to Protect Durham Housing!

Hello fellow RG’ers, and greetings from the South or Tidewater region of the country!

We are writing to share about Triangle North Carolina RG chapter’s first public-facing campaign, which we called “Protect Durham Housing.” (Spoiler alert: it was a success, and we raised over $120k through grassroots efforts!).

[A little background on our chapter: we are relatively small compared to other chapters around the country, but devoted!; there are a core of 7-9 people that regularly come to meetings, and a few more who have other priorities yet are committed to doing RG-related work in our community. ]

First off, we wanted to share our goals for the grassroots campaign we undertook. Then we’ll walk through the process, outcomes, challenges, and lessons we learned. You can decide if we achieved all that we set out to do…

What were our goals anyhow?

Support Durham Community Land Trustee‘s work An amazing, POC-led organization that provides and protects housing for vulnerable communities here in Durham, acting in direct opposition to capitalist housing and developer-based markets. Combat gentrification and support affordable housing and community land ownership in a fitting way for class privileged/wealthy people. Practice being fundraisers! As class-privileged… Continue reading »
Posted in: Blog

A Rich Kid Visits ICE

A Rich Kid Visits ICE

On a sunny morning in May, I found myself at the post office getting my first ever money order. A few seconds later, I was making out a $2,000 payment to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. I was about to meet the mother of an 18-year-old Guatemalan young man named Eduardo who I was going to post bond for in order to be released from ICE detention. I had just joined the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network, and posting bond for Eduardo was my first significant act of solidarity with my neighbors targeted by the immigration enforcement system. After meeting Eduardo’s mom in a grocery store and counting the $1,000 in cash she had collected over the weekend from friends and family, I drove to the ICE office for the Northeast in Burlington, Massachusetts. I was nervous — white, a U.S. citizen, English speaker, and still nervous about entering the very site where people are torn from their families, detained, and deported.

Over the last few months, images of children in cages triggered a lot of us into facing the awfulness of the U.S. immigration enforcement machine. The attention paid to separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border has also brought to Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

On performing “goodness” as a young wealthy person

On performing “goodness” as a young wealthy person

I spent the first week of July at a people of color meditation retreat at Vallecitos Mountain Retreat in northern New Mexico. There I experienced deep silence, stunning nature, and teachings on joy, loving-kindness, equanimity, and compassion. I was on retreat with about 25 other people of color, many of whom are organizers and activists, during the week of mobilization and direct action against family separation at the border. It was an important reminder that during a time of escalated violence we must also escalate our spiritual practice, resourcing ourselves and regrounding in our humanity so that we can center collective liberation in our struggle for justice.

One of the core teachings in the Buddhist tradition emphasized during the retreat is that we all inherently have Buddhanature and the capacity for awakening. That is, human beings are essentially good, and that goodness is part of our birthright as beings who are interconnected, interdependent, and not separate from all living creatures. This worldview stands in stark contradiction to the Christian doctrine of original sin and humanity’s inherent (and inherited) inclination towards evil and our “fallen nature”.  

The binary of good and evil and inherited guilt is especially present in American Protestant … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Funding Immigration Justice as a Young Person with Wealthy Immigrant Parents

Funding Immigration Justice as a Young Person with Wealthy Immigrant Parents

At my second wedding ceremony, the octogenarian vicar said to the guests, “Let’s be honest, this couple’s initial wedding was quite lacking.” Pretty bold, right? But he was right. My first wedding was for legal purposes only — my spouse is a citizen of the United Kingdom and I am a U.S. citizen. I knew I was going to marry him eventually, but we married sooner than we expected so that he could get a green card and live and work in the United States legally, and live without any significant fear of deportation.

The two of us lived overseas while we were dating, and we met many international couples — most of whom were resigned to the fact that they would have to be separated for about a year to fill out paperwork and navigate the U.S. immigration bureaucracy before they could legally be reunited in the United States. I couldn’t bear the thought of being separate from my now-spouse for a year. We found some fancy immigration lawyers, paid them thousands of dollars and were legally married in the U.S. in about a month. This smacks of privilege — as a young person with wealth, I had both Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Let Them Eat Cake: On #PrideMonth & White Gay Men Outearning Straight Men for the 1st Time in History

Let Them Eat Cake: On #PrideMonth & White Gay Men Outearning Straight Men for the 1st Time in History

These days the average wedding cake costs about half-a-grand. Imagine working 64 hours back-to-back at minimum wage to save up $466 to buy a wedding cake for the soon-to-be most important day of your life, knowing that that chunk of change is actually a minor cost of your big day. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $35,000. That’s almost three full years of working at a minimum wage.

These amounts are not out of reach for many gay men that I know. And it’s not all that surprising, for the first time in history, gay men are getting paid more than our straight peers — about 10% more to be exact. And that’s not even taking the racial wealth divide into account for white gays. This is not to say that we haven’t struggled; we have and still do. But, as the report points out, it does mean that our deeply unjust and racist economic system doesn’t seem to care if you’re a faggot anymore — as long as you’re white and have a modicum of class privilege. A cake shop owner turning us away, even if backed by the U.S. Supreme Court (thanks, Colorado), doesn’t … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Class and the New Economy

Class and the New Economy

I just returned from my first Commonbound conference in St. Louis, hosted by the New Economy Coalition (NEC). Resource Generation has been a part of the New Economy Coalition for a few years and this was my first time attending the conference.

The NEC has 211 member organizations and it was amazing to connect with so many people from around the country representing a range of organizations from co-ops to community land trusts to climate justice organizers. I attended a media training organized by NEC and Laura Flanders, and as the nine other leaders in the training shared their stories and messages I was heartened to hear so many echoes of RG’s mission of organizing for the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. Spaces like Commonbound remind me that we are not alone in our vision of a transformed economy built for people and the planet, not profit.

In addition to participating in the media training, I supported a workshop led by staff members Kaitlin Gravitt and Sarah Abbott called Dismantling Class Privilege to Build Cross Class Power. The goal of the workshop was to provide concrete tools for people to recognize and counter class privilege to build cross-class … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

On facing inadequacy: lessons from writer’s block  

When I was growing up I wanted to be a writer. I was the kid who brought back stacks of books from the library and then stayed up late, hiding out in the bathroom reading until 4 AM. Throughout high school and college I pursued creative writing, and wrote a chapbook’s worth of poetry and honed my skills enough to publish a few of them. Even when I lost my romantic notions of becoming a writer, I thought for sure my craft of poetry would be a regular part of adult life.

But once I moved to DC and started full-time work, I lost the energy, discipline, and practice of creative writing. I was spending all of my writing energy instead crafting diplomatic emails and project plans. Writing as a way to connect to something larger to myself, to uncover universal truths or transport others to another reality was replaced by organizing and my spiritual practice. By the time I became the Executive Director of RG it had been almost ten years since I had written an essay or poem. Last year as a way to introduce myself to the RG community I thought it would make sense to write … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

The World To Come

The World To Come

In one year of Resource Generation membership, I have increased my giving from around $100 to $10,000 a year, which is 5% of my net wealth, and started organizing my family and friends to give.

Even before I learned that my inheritance was a direct result of economic exploitation, extractive ecological practices in the tech industry, and institutional racism on Wall Street — my inherited money simply never felt like “my money.”

Three years ago, I inherited $100,000 from my grandfather after he passed. I felt a whirling mix of emotions after receiving my grandfather’s inheritance: grief for his passing, shame over the amount of wealth, and confusion about what in the world to do with this money. It was thrust into my life out of my control —  just as I was thrust into this world as a white Jew, a person with class privilege, a genderqueer person. A few years later, I was given $100,000 worth of stocks by my parents.

In the back of my mind, I remembered a friend mentioning Resource Generation (RG), a group for wealthy young people who care about social justice. I knew I needed clarity and support, so I reached out to Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog