Matching Grant for Liberty's Pacifica tuition

For: Liberty Miller
Portland, OR
Organizer: Liberty Miller
$1,028
of $12,500 goal.
Raised by 19 donors
8% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Hey y’all! Liberty here. I'm doing a unique type of educational fundraiser, probably much like fundraisers you’ve seen before that get rewards. Also you may have heard through the grapevine that I was accepted to Pacifica Graduate Institute which is a really exciting opportunity to develop myself as a community asset because I was accepted to their Masters/PhD program in Depth Psychology with a specialization in Community, Liberation, Eco and Indigenous Psychologies.  


The program takes an interdisciplinary approach to looking at these things through the lense of Depth Psychology (it’s sort of a mouthful, but it’s definitely worthwhile). I feel like I finally I’ve found my niche and my path which is exciting especially if you’re one of those people who has seen me going down different rabbit holes and getting lost in worthwhile inquiries, but also I feel like I’m finally home. So thank you if you’ve supported me along this journey.    


Also this amazing opportunity comes with a pretty substantial financial burden that is honestly quite scary and overwhelming. The administration of my program kind of knows that people who dedicate themselves to social change work, like I have in my life, often don’t get compensated as much as they probably should on the other side of school so they created a matching grant. This means that I need an organizational sponsor, which I already have, and then anything that you and I can raise up to $12,500, the organizational sponsor will pledge and then Pacifica will match it. And it will match it again next year and the year after that (whatever is raised in those years).


When all is said and done, this could mean cutting my student debt in half, which in this day and age with the way things are going in the world right now, is pretty significant. It would be like night and day in my ability to pay back the student debt and the way that I feel throughout the program pursuing this path. This is sort of a now or never situation because it is only available to incoming students and I won't be able to apply for this again. I have to act quick.    


SO I am doing this fundraiser video and if you are ready to donate, go ahead and hit the DONATE NOW button below and let’s get started. If you want to get a little more in depth view at the program, the story of how I’ve gotten here and some of the rewards, keep watching.    


My story starts here in SW Portland where I was born and raised and have spent the majority of my life, although I got the opportunity at a pretty young age to travel internationally. I got to see that places around the world weren’t necessarily like the United States and that there are many places where people are suffering and don’t have access to their basic needs. I got to wondering, what’s the deal here humans? Why aren’t we taking care of each other?    


When I really got into learning about the extent to which humans have touched the Earth and changed the landscapes, and decimated natural habitat through the extraction of resources, it really hit home how absolutely important it is to maintain relationship to the Earth and to other species. I knew intuitively that we are all connected in a global ecosystem that relies on every part of the ecosystem to survive and thrive.    


I focused my efforts at the point to serving and saving animals because I really felt a deep connection, having grown up on a small homestead, to my animal brethren, to my animals friends. It made sense to me that that was the direction I would go. So I studied for three years to be a veterinarian and it took me that long both to appreciate the complexity of the science behind the medicine, but also that the animals themselves don’t have much say in their fate, that that it’s humans and politics and our relationship to the earth that really decides their future for them.    


In the 3rd year the Arab Spring happened and there was a big shift at that time. Two of my classmates at the time were Libyan and I became involved in their activism, documenting their protests, and then that summer I got the opportunity to go to Israel and see the immense conflict that was alive there and the real tension and how people were attempting to resolve that tension through art and activism and social change projects.    


Then that fall activism came home to downtown Portland when Occupy Portland happened in the city. At the time I had switched my major to Liberal Studies and was studying social change movements and asking those questions about what it means to make change in the world and what it means to be thriving community.    


Since then I have been involved in numerous social change and community empowerment projects everywhere from the Occupy Portland Library and everything that came out of that to Community Supported Everything, the Social Justice Action Center, Tryon Life Community Farm and most recently I’ve been involved in an anti-racist organizing effort right here in Lake Oswego, OR (Respond to Racism).   My story has led me to this place where, as most of you probably experience, change needs to happen in our world. There are many ways that we can go about doing that. The strongest and most tried and true ways have been social movements led by grassroots leaders and small groups of people who come up with genius solutions to their problems.    


I want to go study and do a deep dive into the psychology behind all of this. What produces both the oppressor/oppressed relationship as well as how do those who experience despair and lack of hope for change make that shift to hope and to that state of being creative and coming up with solutions that are going to solve their problems. The psychology behind it is nuanced and mysterious and there are amazing thought leaders and writers in this area who I want to learn from and Pacifica is going to help me do that and help me to bring those tools back to the community so that I can be more of a resource in the change work that we are all a part of.    


The inquiry is led by a conversation about the last 500 years of human trauma that has happened on this continent at least through colonization, industrialization, mechanization, commodification of life and that process of disconnecting from the Earth and disconnecting from the more traditional ways of life, of being in relationship with plants, animals, landscapes and each other through ritual and tradition.   


What would it mean to live in a healthy community, a connected community, a community where everyone is accepted and take care of? At the intersection of community psychology, ecopsychology, liberation psychology and indigenous psychology is this place where ancient wisdom, indigenous wisdom, which is inherently tied in with being in relationship with the Earth informs how modern communities can liberate themselves from the limits and oppression that each unique community is experiencing. Within that, how does a community move forward in ways that are culturally healing, healing of historical wounds, and transformative, with the possibility to transform conflict that is alive within that community, gain access to resources or whatever it is that that community is needing?    


Pacifica does this [inquiry] through training its students to do community-based participatory research to work within the transformative research paradigm that uses an oppression-informed approach to research that in attempting not to reproduce the colonial settler or oppressor paradigm which is so prevalent within the research community.    


Needless to say, this program has an incredible amount to offer, not just for me but for anyone that I work with over the next few years because I will have a requirement to be in the field doing this work, holding councils, facilitating groups and getting feedback from you all.    


This is about pursuing true Liberty for the people, true liberation. What does that even mean? Everyone I ask has a different answer to that question, “What is liberty?” It’s different for everyone. That is one of the keys - that each community has its own process of liberation. I need to get better at understanding what that looks like and how to support that in a good way and then to share that wisdom with everyone so that each of you, organizers, leaders, healers, can go out into your communities and use these tools.    


So what about my special gift, Liberty?  Because I want you to feel like you’re a part of this, I’m offering a series of gifts that you can go to my website (there’s a link in the description) and see. Depending on whether or not you want a gift, you may feel good about a simple [donation] of money, and that’s great. But if you do want to feel that balanced equal exchange of energy, go check out the gifts. There’s even a place where you can propose one.


And let’s do this. I believe in you if you believe in me. Alright, it’s go time. Like, comment, share, hit the DONATE NOW button, send it to your parents, whatever we’ve gotta do to get this work started because there is so much work left to do. AND, I know that you are doing amazing work out there, too! So, send me your stuff. Let’s get connected. Let me like, comment, share, or whatever so that I can support you, too. Because it’s going to take all of us and we’re all in this together. If we’re going to have a sustainable future on this planet, it’s gotta be that way.    


Thank you so much for watching this video and supporting me. Be well y’all.   


Donate and get your gift here! 


Opening Title: This fundraising film was created on land that was populated and tended by indigenous tribes who were removed from this land to create colonial settlements. I acknowledge and honor the history that was erased from this land, the ancestors of this place and the spirits that endure here.    


Closing Credits: This video was created on the Eclipse weekend and finalized just hours after totality, phew!   

A special thanks to:  

Dakota Gonzalez for filming  

My Mom, you rock  

My family, you know who you are  

My Community (you!)  

Tryon Life Community Farm  

Pacifica folks   

Thank you to the ancestors of place and of the path of community liberation  

… and of course all the critters…  

… the elements…  

… and this great mystery of life..


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