Anita Jackson smiling in a white shirt. Trees and shrubs behind her.

Let’s start with the easy stuff – give us a sample of your professional background and experience.

I graduated from Ball State University in 2019 with my degree in English Literature and Sociology. I always tell people my background is in behavioral health—my professional background/ work experience includes outreach and skills work with a diverse array of demographics, and I am experienced with restorative practice and SEL. However, while that is my professional experience on paper, my perspective and background (as is all of ours) is informed by my personal life experiences and beliefs. My life goal is to promote liberated and healed communities, so that’s my real background and the real work I do, no matter what sphere I am operating in.

What brought you to PLC?

I first heard of the PLC through a friend and colleague of mine. The more I learned about the PLC, through their website, through the hiring process, word of mouth and now just by being here and observing the operations, the more excited I was, and am—I think there are few places that really live their values, and PLC really strives to imagine and implement a better way. I’m here because I can see a deep alignment between the PLC’s mission and my own. It gives me hope, not just because of the incredible work the PLC is doing outside of the organization, but also because the how the PLC operates is internally committed to the values we teach. Sustainability, accountability, racial justice, a respect for diversity… I’m at the PLC because I see room to grow together, and because I see the beginning of the world I want to live in and be a part of creating.

What are you most excited about in your new role?

There’s no such thing as building a different world by yourself, so I’m thrilled to be in a position where I can hopefully inspire and empower others to do things differently in their own lives and stop cycles that may be driven by fear and lack. I am excited to help people take back power over their own lives and find their own sense of agency. Together, we have enough. I honestly feel so lucky to get to study and practice what I’m passionate about.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?

I think I struggle with “perfect” here because we often think of perfection as some irreproachable, objective measure—a perfect day to me is one in which I’m present in my life and body. Maybe on this day I get to go on a beautiful nature walk with dear friends and cook a delicious fragrant meal that satisfies. We dance and laugh and cry and my heart is warm. On this day, I definitely get to cuddle with my cats and read too.

If we pushed play on what you were last listening to (music, podcast or otherwise) what would we hear?

I was last listening to Ezra Furman’s “I Can Change”. She’s an incredible punk/indie artist with hard hitting lyrics who did a lot of work for Netflix’s “Sex Education” (also a great piece of media).

Pre-COVID, you’re invited to a pitch-in, what are you bringing?

Probably one of my mom’s recipes and it depends on what needs brought. Maybe chicken and dumplings, or a black bean and corn salad, or a pork chop mushroom dish I love. I guess I don’t really have a go to.

Who is someone you look up to? Why?

I think this shout out has to go to bell hooks, the author I have found most informative to my life and politics in the past few years. She was one of the first authors I encountered who wrote about love and self-improvement not just in the personal and interpersonal sense, but to connect it to the structural. This is seen as such a transgression in our culture because so many people want to claim disconnection from how their lives and traumas are informed by the traumatic systems we operate under all the time. She connects our loveless lives to our loveless systems. She is able to put words to this taboo subject with such inspirational clarity and heart.

Lastly, how did you celebrate when you accepted your new job?

The real answer is that I haven’t had time to celebrate yet—October has been incredibly busy so far, but I plan on getting my loved ones together and having a celebratory dinner in a couple weeks.