We’re acquainted through the neighborhood in which we choose to reside, Woodland Park, on the Near East Side, adjacent to Franklin Park north of Broad. Her professional curiosity steered toward public interest law; she earned her law degree from Ohio State. She worked in Legal Aid Chicago, got a fellowship to start a legal clinic in a west side high school, and after a few years returned to Columbus where she started working for Ohio Poverty Law Center, then to the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio to do policy work. We agreed in our concern that systemic racism in our health delivery systems has to be looked at when examining Columbus’ high infant mortality rate, race and poverty.
CORE VALUES: Feminism is important to Sarah, not just lifting up women but also lifting up people who are marginalized, intersectional feminism. “Equity, assuring access to substantive equality.” On a personal level, kindness and love and the way she parents her children are core values.
Sarah’s current mission to EFFECT CHANGE: “My work is focused around change.” In the effort to change policy, asking “How does this lift up the voices of the people who are directly impacted by the policies we want to change,” is important in providing social services. “Talking to the stakeholders who are the recipients of these services.”
EARLIEST MEMORY: She often walked with her father as a child the short distance from their house to the funeral home he ran, with the apartment upstairs where her grandparents lived. She remembers, at age three, wanting to visit her grandparents, walking down the alley and then crossing the street, by herself, without her mother’s awareness, wearing Wonder Woman underoos. A man intercepted her, took her to grandparents, who drove her home. She remembers seeing her excited mother’s red face.
Her TEXTURE of EMOTIONAL CONNECTIVITY with others: “It feels like a satisfying dinner, satiated, but not full.”
On the SCARCITY/ABUNDANCE scale: Sarah experiences abundance. “I have a fantastic family, a supportive spouse, the opportunity to do the work I love, I have children whom I adore.” But with her concern of the scarcity in our midst, “I have a compulsion to use my privilege to help those who don’t have enough.”
Sarah’s proverbial “BOX,” that we’re often encouraged to THINK OUTSIDE OF: “Systemic structures, institutions and norms we’re expected to stay inside of.” A corporate structure is a box. “I would ask if the box makes sense,” perhaps deconstruct it. “There’s a comfort zone within the box.”
Sarah’s MUSE, the source for her IDEAS: Her friends and family who foster creativity in her, who push back, call her on her bullshit. One-on-one conversations with people she cares about allow her get beyond a problem and go be the person she is supposed to be.
UNCERTAINTY: “I feel like there’s very little that is certain.”
Henceforth 5-YEARS from now, 2023: “I hope we’ll be further down the path to bringing more people on board with this idea of change as something that needs to be directed by people who are impacted by the things we want to change.” Bringing this to the power structure locally, through the effort of more young people. “I think Columbus has the potential and good opportunities to have those conversations.” She believes there will be a shift in the kind of people who get elected.“I feel very, very strongly that the world would benefit greatly if more young mothers were in politics.”
On her ANCESTRY: Sarah can name at least one great-great-grandfather, Conrad Biehl, going back to early 1800s. She’s even done some research on her husband’s roots.
Finally, Sarah, WHATCHA READIN? JANE EYRE, Gore Vidal’s “Narratives of Empire” series, ALEXANDER HAMILTON, by Ron Chernow.
Much THANKS to you, Sarah.
And THANKS, too, toward all readers of “CAFFEINE COMMUNION.”
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