Is the personal political?

Ivy HestSkills and Principles, Theory, Uncategorized0 Comments

(About 8.5 minutes to read) This past Wednesday I shared a deeply personal story about my body, my feelings about my body, and how it impacted the way I interacted with others.   It was published in my friend’s sex, dating, and relationship column, The Debrief, on JewishBoston.com. Here are the thoughts that went through my head throughout this process: It’s 3am and I … Read More




4 Things I’ve Learned from Ella Fitzgerald

Ivy HestSkills and Principles, Theory0 Comments

(About 3:30 minutes to Read, plus some awesome music) I’m a jazz singer.  Ok, maybe I just sing jazz.  I don’t know at what point I can actually reverse the order of the words.  But after years of singing other kinds of genres (and specializing mostly in all things 90’s pop), I’ve landed on Jazz, and I’m pretty happy about … Read More




Some of My Best Friends are Black Organizers!

Ivy HestReal Talk, Skills and Principles, Strategy, Supervising and Mentoring5 Comments

(About 5.5 minutes to read) I missed the opportunity to go to Wisconsin a few years back, to organize protesters against crippling legislation that would disable unions; I also never had much time to participate in Occupy protests, which were flourishing in Boston.  I felt (and feel) like we are in a particular moment in history where society is getting … Read More




How to Get a Bunch of 80-Year-Olds Arrested

Ivy HestHow-To, Skills and Principles, Strategy0 Comments

“Let’s occupy the Governor’s office!” “What?” “Yeah!  Let’s do it!” “What?  No!” The public transit authority in Boston had decided to increase prices for transportation for seniors and people with disabilities by 100%, and in some cases 150% by July 1st.  Members had been mobilizing and organizing for almost a year, without any response from the public transit Board.  We knew … Read More




When Grassroots Organizations Get It Right

Ivy HestHow-To, Skills and Principles, Strategy, Theory0 Comments

(About 5 minutes to read) Not all organizing is created equal.  Unions have a different model of organizing from interfaith organizations. Some organizations integrate direct service and community organizing, others organize around public policy, and still others organize around local issues.  Some build power in solidarity, others build power for themselves.  The basic principles are generally the same throughout, but each … Read More




That time I had a chair thrown at me (or: 10 Rules for an effective decision-making meeting)

Ivy HestHow-To, Skills and Principles0 Comments

  (About 9 minutes to read) It was a beautiful evening at someone’s house that had a view of the ocean.  Buoys and boats were peacefully bobbing around in the water.  The colors of the sunset were distractingly beautiful through the floor-to-ceiling windows.  And then someone picked up a chair and threw it clear across the room toward me. Planning … Read More




Morality is Bullshit.

Ivy HestReal Talk, Skills and Principles, Theory1 Comment

(About 3 minutes to read) Let’s get one thing out of the way right now.  Morality is total, utter bullshit.  Feeling scandalized?  How could I care about others and not believe in morality?  What kind of heathen am I!?  Well, step onto my carpet, and I’ll show you a whole new world. First, let’s talk about what I mean by … Read More