2014 turned out to be a beautiful raging comet of a dreams come true, new dreams come to life, and some pretty damn good realities. So many positive things happened, it seems like a miracle, really.
The year started off with a three-week sabbatical in Spain with my son and his fiancee. We had a great time and discovered we all get along really well, we love Spain (even in the rain) and walking 3-5 miles a day is definitely the way to see a city.
In February, after I got back, I got myself a trainer, started going to the YMCA and working out 3-6 times a week, and changed my diet. Almost a year later, I am down a pants size, have reshaped some parts of my body, feel GREAT, and am really committed to fitness and health forever. I also learned that making time to take care of myself is a wise and necessary investment, no matter how urgent everything else can feel.
In April, after 10 months of work, Abraham Hyatt and I launched Oakland Police Beat. This complex data-journalism project created a database of settled cases brought against the Oakland police and offered high-quality investigative reporting, analysis and data based on what we found. Ultimately a finalist for an Online News Association reporting award, OPB had strong readership and positive impact.
In May, we found out Hack the Hood–the non-profit I co-founded that teaches tech skills to low income young people of color through having them build web sites for local small businesses, was a finalist for the 2014 Google Impact Challenge. We were forbidden to tell anyone we’d won $250K till Google gave us the green light, but knowing we’d secured such an influential partner was epic.
And then, in June, we discovered that Hack the Hood was one of 4 $500K winners of the Google Bay area Impact Challenge, beating out 19 other organizations for one of the top slots.
In July, we launched our summer bootcamp for Hack the Hood Oakland and worked with 23 amazing mentors and partners from companies including Weebly, GetClef, Facebook, and Google to run the program. Our young people built 75 web sites for local organizations and learned HTML, CSS. JQuery, web production, and more.
In August, when the program ended, we had a fantastic graduation event at Impact Hub Oakland (link here) –and discovered we had 10 young people who just wouldn’t go home–they kept coming in to work long after the program ended, working with a staffer who kept volunteering his time.
Now, we’re working to expand the program in the Bay area, and we have a dedicated team, promising partners and forward momentum.
In September, I had a great week off in NYC, staying in Manhattan for the first time in what seems like years–having the time to see old and dear friends, including Jill and Gabriella, Pamela Madsen, Deborah Gallant and Vivanne was a deep pleasure–I hope to see them all a lot more in 2015.
Thanksgiving week was also a first, meeting my future daughter-in-law’s parents and spending almost a week with her and my son in the Bay area. So excited about those two.
And then there’s the relationship part. A couple of years ago, I met someone wonderful and we started seeing one another. That relationship has continued to grow and deepen and improve, and having her in my life has been a source of great joy, inspiration and yes, accountability. This December my girlfriend and I went to Joshua Tree and then met my son and his fiancee, and my sister and her family in Palm Springs for a few days. Everyone hit it off.–Talk about having some of the people you love best in the world in one room! I got to have that, and it was a blessing.
What are my personal resolutions for 2015?
1. Fight against racism, structural oppression and inequity. #blacklivesmatter and allies are needed.
2. Continue to move and be active. I’d like to increase my time working out by adding 1-3 dance classes a week, getting a bike I rode to work and/or the gym, and walking more. Also ramp up the high-intensity card.
3. Lose body fat. It’s time to address eating habits as well as movement. This is going to be challenging.
4. Be a great family member, partner, parent, friend, co-worker, leader. With all the great positivity of 2014, I’d like to take care of myself, pay attention, and listen in a way that strengthens all the relationships I have.
5. Listen more–and better. I always have to work at this one, but it’s the start of everything.
6. See friends and community more. In 2014, I was so busy, I could barely keep the core relationships together. In 2015, I’d like to schedule a little more time with friends as well as family.
7. Be a great girlfriend.
8. Try something new. More than one thing that is new. Push the comfort zone.
9. Be more consistent with meditation/prayer/sprituality. Go to Kehillah. Go to East Bay Meditation Center more. At least once a month, ideally, twice.
10. Practice kindness and help others with compassion.