There have been a lot of angry comments on my blogs inquiring about who I am, “who pays my way”, and why I blog on the Patch. I decided that it would be appropriate to shed light on some of these concerns.
First some background information. I come from a working class family. My father was a blue collar construction worker; my mother sacrificed and dedicated her life to raising me and my younger brother by being a stay at home mom (which I believe is way more than a full time job!). Importantly, my humble and devoted parents taught me the important lesson; to not only live within your means but below them. Neither of my parents nor relatives are active in any political organizations or committees. I happened upon politics by looking to make my community better.
I went to SUNY Albany on a partial academic scholarship, received a private scholarship, and took out Stafford loans to pay for the rest. I worked in retail throughout college, both in Albany during the school year and back in Rockland when I returned. I also am first generation college educated.
After an internship at the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and graduating Cum Laude with a double major in English Honors ( I wrote an undergraduate honors thesis) and Women’s Studies, I joined the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Program in Westchester County. I earned a small stipend, I think around $9,000 for the year, and was awarded a little under $2,000 to go towards my student loans. During my time in AmeriCorps, I learned how to write grants and received successful funding for numerous programs targeted to help youth and homeless people. After the year ended, I applied for jobs in Rockland and was hired by a local nonprofit. About a year into that job, I joined the Young Democrats, and rose up the ranks. See being involved in politics did not get me a job, my hard work and determination did.
While working full time, I attend graduate school part time at Marist College. This December, I will be graduating with a Masters Degree in Public Administration. I currently have a 3.973 GPA. Ironically, the only class that I didn’t earn in an “A” in was Politics and Policy which I achieved a grade of “A-”. Again, I received a small academic scholarship and used savings and loans to pay for the rest. Fortunately, I was eligible to finance my education through interest subsidized Stafford Loans.
And yes, I will be traveling, as a delegate, to the Democratic National Convention but there is no nefarious deal that has afforded me the ability to do so. When I found out a couple months ago that I would be a delegate, I started to budget. I shopped around and found the lowest cost flight available. While in Charlotte, I am staying with other young Democrats to offset the cost of the hotel room. The week that I will be out of work will be taken as vacation time, something I believe most of us have in our jobs. So to answer one reader’s question, I, me Joe, am paying my way.
So why do I blog on the Patch?
As Audre Lorde said, “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”
I know that there are some of you that “misunderstand” “or look to “bruise” my words. That is fine. I know I’m not going to change your minds. What I do know is that there is a silent majority who are more progressive than you think. Since starting my blog, I have received Facebook messages and comments from strangers thanking me for sharing my perspective.
Second, I am comfortable speaking my truth and I decided to share my opinions with my community in this forum. I stand by and choose my words carefully. And I do have an agenda (as I think most of you do as well). To reacquaint yourselves to my agenda please see a past blog post:
And most importantly, I write for those who are intimidated by the vitriol that comes from the conservative right, those who are forced to be silent, and those who are harmed and oppressed by the (neo) conservative policies and beliefs I oppose.
So contrary to what conspiracies are out there, I am not wealthy, do not have PhD and am not bought by any political party or person. I am a caring, working class, young professional who is trying to make our world a little better.
Be on the look out for my next post, which I hope to write while I am at the DNC next week. And thanks for reading!