By Katie Bradley, Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness
For my Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD) reflection, I decided to create a flipbook describing my experience and what I learned throughout the day. An online flipbook is a new version of the traditional flipbook — a series of pictures that appear to be animated when you flip through them quickly. I felt like HHAD was a lively growth experience for me, and wanted my reflection to be equally dynamic, both visually and physically.
I also wanted to provide insight into what HHAD was like for me and share what future HHAD attendees can expect throughout the day.
New technology, new challenges, my recommendations
In the process of creating this flipbook, I ran into more challenges than I thought I would. It was difficult to find and choose a platform to make the PDF flipbook responsive, so that the pages would flip as the viewer turns a page. Additionally, embedding the flipbook proved to be a complicated and overwhelming process – especially as someone who is not familiar with HTML coding.
Based on what I learned throughout the process of creating this guide, I have some recommendations for anyone wanting to create their own online flipbook:
Make a PDF file of the content and information you want to share. To create my flipbook PDF file, I used the free site Canva.
Find a platform to make the PDF responsive. I originally planned to use FlippingBook and the company’s free trial, but the free trial only saves the flipbook for the trial period and there is an annual fee of $44/month. I ended up using a company called Flowpaper and downloaded their software onto my laptop, which allowed me to upload my PDF file and create an online link to share the flipbook.
Consider if you want to embed the flipbook on your site. Be sure to look into how embedding works and understand the process for your specific website. This was where I had the most difficulty. Because we were trying to upload this to a WordPress blog, I could not embed the Flowpaper flipbook without installing a plugin, which requires a premium WordPress account. I wish I would have researched the embedding process more in-depth before I fully committed to the platform I used for my flipbook.
Here are the two tools I used to create my HHAD Declassified Survival Guide flipbook:
Canva to make the flipbook. I used the magazine format for my PDF.
Flowpaper to make the flipbook responsive, so that viewers could flip the page.
By Tess Riski, Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness
Up until recently, I had never considered myself to be an “advocate.” The term just didn’t seem to fit quite right. Being an advocate, I had thought to myself, was all about quantity, as if there is an advocacy checklist that looks something like this:
□ Attends multiple rallies each month;
□ Dedicates 40+ hours a week to saving the world;
□ Eats-drinks-breathes their chosen cause.
The more boxes you can tick off, I had thought to myself, the closer you are to being a bona-fide advocate. I didn’t tick many boxes, therefore I felt I simply did not meet the minimum qualifications.
It turns out that what I was feeling isn’t all that uncommon after all. Two psychologists, Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, gave it a name in 1978: impostor syndrome. As the New York Times reported, they described it as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” People who experience impostor syndrome often “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds,” the Times said.
Due to pre-existing systemic issues like sexism and racism, impostor syndrome tends to disproportionately affect women and people of color. The ubiquity of impostor syndrome further exacerbates the marginalization of these groups in everyday society; the less qualified they consider themselves for positions, the less likely they are to apply to them and the more likely are to undersell themselves along the way.
Recently, impostor syndrome became problematic for me. But, unlike appearing where it usually does for most people who experience it – in academia and the workplace – for me, it infiltrated the advocacy world.
I’m a project assistant at the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness – a project deeply committed to ending family homelessness through connecting the community with advocacy partners and opportunities to advocate across Western Washington. In early February, our project team was preparing to attend Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day (HHAD), which, as the name implies, is an inherently advocacy-oriented event.
Feeling a little phony
On Feb. 1, our team headed down to the state capitol in Olympia to participate in HHAD. During this event, which takes place for one day each year, Washington residents who care about housing affordability and ending homelessness descend upon the capitol in hordes to share stories with lawmakers and lobby for specific bills. The crux of the event is to end homelessness while making housing affordable and accessible to all. In anticipation of this exciting, meaningful day, my feelings of inadequacy began to rise.
During the 90-minute car ride from Seattle to Olympia, the little voice in the back of my head passed along a few snarky comments. “Everyone is going to see that you don’t know what you’re doing,” it sneered. “The moment they see you, they’ll know you’re a fraud.”
But I also felt a wave of excitement as I thought about the 545 handwritten letters our team was planning to deliver to Sen. Christine Rolfes, chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. We chose to deliver the letters to Rolfes because the committee she chairs is key to orchestrating housing policies in the state.
During the two weeks prior to HHAD, our team generated the nearly 600 letters from students, faculty, staff and administrators at Seattle U and Seattle Central. We even gathered letters from those who have experienced or are experiencing homelessness. Each letter was addressed directly to the senator, and each had a personalized message inscribed on it. Our two stacks stood at about 12 inches tall each. They were monumental and I was proud of our team’s work.
After arriving at the Capitol, we headed over to the United Churches of Olympia where the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance – who has hosted HHAD for the last 20-something years – congregated with attendees to start the day-long event. Carrying the two stacks in my arms (which were quite heavy, I might add) I began to feel my confidence bolster.
A rite of passage
Upon entering the church and being greeted by a swarm of people, I was bestowed with the staple HHAD accessory: a red scarf. I put mine on and glanced around at the hundreds of others buzzing nearby who were also sporting their red fleece. In this moment, I felt as if I was a part of a team and that I was in Olympia on a mission with 600+ others just like me. The voice in the back of my head that had been nagging me with feelings of inadequacy earlier hushed down significantly.
There was excitement in the air as the day began. Rep. Nicole Macri kicked off the event with an emotional, impactful speech directed at all HHAD attendees. Then our team of four split off to the 43rd Legislative District meeting in the Capitol building. Members of the district piled into the large conference room and shared emotional stories with Rep. Macri, Sen. Jamie Pedersen and House Speaker Frank Chopp, who all appeared supportive and understanding. In fact, they have all sponsored or co-sponsored important housing bills, and Rep. Chopp helped create the Housing Trust Fund.
After that, we headed to a social media workshop, attended a rally and ate lunch on the steps of the Senate building. As I ate my turkey sandwich, I began to glance around and observe my surroundings thoroughly for the first time that day. Immersed in a sea of red scarves, I started to feel as though I was a part of a movement. And not just a miniscule, replaceable part – an important one capable of igniting change.
Finally, after weeks of anticipation, it was time for our team’s big moment. After a brief run-through of our plan of action, we headed up to Senator Rolfes’ office for the 23rd District meeting. It was time to deliver our mountain of letters.
As we entered the meeting, led by Sen. Rolfes’ legislative aide, Linda Owens, a group of about a dozen advocates from Kitsap County observed our two stacks with amazement and awe.
“How about you present those as the grand finale?” one of the advocates asked us. This was a very kind gesture to which we had no objections. After this initial comment, I immediately felt welcomed into the setting. I was eager to see how the meeting would proceed, this one significantly smaller and more personal than the 43rd we had sat in on earlier that day.
I watched as, one-by-one, the advocates gave direct and explicit pitches on behalf of their county. They lobbied for specific bills and shared personal stories of family members and people they work with. For the most part, they advocated for HB2578 and SB5407, which are known as the Source of Income Discrimination bills. As well-seasoned as these advocates were, I realized that there is nothing particularly unique about this group of people; they are all just everyday people who – like me – are passionate about homelessness and housing and want to make a difference.
Becoming a “real advocate”
Finally, it was our turn to deliver our message. As we explained the purpose of our letters and the creative, community-oriented process that led up to their delivery, the group seem impressed and delighted. To them, we were a legitimate team capable of making change in the world. They took our presence at HHAD and our stack of letters seriously.
It looks like Sen. Rolfes did, too. She included our team in her constituent e-newsletter.
“Message Received” the headline of her newsletter read. “I thank Madison, Katie and Tess for the energy and passion they are dedicating to this issue,” Rolfes wrote in the newsletter. “I share their concern and will continue to search for ways the Legislature can best use our state resources for housing solutions in the Puget Sound.”
As we headed out of Olympia that day, I was awash with emotions: relief, fulfillment, excitement. I began to feel a bit silly for questioning myself earlier. Of course I, as a voter and Washington State resident, have the right to demand change from my lawmakers. Advocacy is not about “ticking boxes,” so to speak, until you’re qualified and deserving of your lawmakers’ attention; it’s about caring deeply for an issue and using your resources to make change – as small or big as that change may be. It is critical for people to use their privilege to advocate on behalf of those who cannot.
I learned these lessons after attending HHAD this year, which means I may not be alone in my advocacy-related impostor syndrome. Surely others feel the same way, especially if they’ve never participated in an advocacy-oriented event before.
If you’re one of those people who is experiencing symptoms of impostor syndrome in the advocacy world, it’s important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere; nobody is born an advocate. You are capable of bringing about change and having fun while doing so. Take it from me – a recovering advocacy impostor.
Finally, remember that your lawmakers want to hear from you. It is their job to listen to their constituents and craft policies around the needs and concerns brought forth to them. You are never a burden to your lawmaker for demanding they fulfill the duties they were elected into office to complete.
What You Can Do
Now, with that said, there’s no time like the present to get started. Here are some changes you can make today to help end homelessness in Washington State and ensure that housing is accessible to all:
Think about how women and people of color might be left out of the advocacy conversation, and work to center them.
Choose a bill that is meaningful to you. Track it all the way from the Senate committees to the House Floor to the Governor’s desk.
Our new partnership will help bring this training to schools across the state
By Katie Bradley, Project Assistant, with Madison Vucci, Digital Design Project Assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness
“A good day is when you’re proud of what you’ve done. A bad day is when you forget all of what you can do.”
I hadn’t written poetry since I was in fourth grade. But after attending the Pongo Poetry Training in October, I had a subtle sense of accomplishment about what I had shared, and a sense of pride that I’ve been trained in a process that can help so many people.
As I rode back to campus, I had three takeaways from the training repeating in my mind.
Everyone has a story. The world wants to hear your story. Poetry can be about anything.Continue reading →
It’s up to advocates to connect this story of family homelessness to action
By Katie Bradley, project assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness
As the credits for The Florida Project rolled, I was floored. This movie made me cry while I sat in the theater, and I didn’t even cry when I saw Titanic for the first time as a child. A movie about a family living in poverty at an Orlando budget motel got to me in the most heart-wrenching way.
I had just seen a raw portrait of family homelessness set in contrast with the happiest place on earth, Disney World. It made me want to do something to help families living like those depicted in the film. But I felt lost with what I could do, and it left me with my head spinning.
Fortunately for me, I work with a bunch of people who think about family homelessness all the time, and we think that we may be able to connect audiences to action, which we will explore later. First, here’s a description of this remarkable film and what it says about family homelessness.
The Florida Project is a breakout movie that depicts the struggles of living in poverty from a childhood perspective, set in a not-so-magical purple budget motel, the Magic Castle. The film depicts the often-unseen struggles of homelessness, which director and co-writer Sean Baker calls the “hidden homeless,” to represent the life of the modern-day “Little Rascals” who live a “life on the margins.”Continue reading →
Seattle voters: Still trying to decide who to vote for in the mayoral race? Here’s a list of some candidate forums (fora?) coming up before the Aug. 1 primary. Be sure to ask these candidates about their housing and homelessness platforms!
UPDATE JULY 16: Check out our Voters’ Guide on Housing & Homelessness, published in partnership with Solid Ground, Housing Development Consortium and Seattle-King County Coalition on Homelessness.
July 8 (Saturday) — Seattle Neighborhood Coalition forum, part 2, 9-11 a.m. at Central Area Senior Center. With the other three of the “Top 6” — Moon, McGinn, Hasegawa (first forum was June 10).
July 10 (Monday) – Seattle Youth Mayoral Candidate Forum, hosted by Seattle Young People’s Project. 6-8 p.m. Black Power Epicenter, 6218 Beacon Ave S. Ages 22 and under invited. Candidates: Cary Moon, Mary Martin, Nikkita Oliver, Harley Lever, Gary Brose, Jenny Durkan*, Mike McGinn*. *apparently tentative
July 11 (Tuesday) – Candidate Survivor, hosted by The Stranger, partnering with Washington Bus. 8 p.m. at Neumo’s. “Top 6” candidates plus Greg Hamilton and Jason Roberts (chosen by poll).
July 13 (Thursday) – Seattle Mayoral Forum, hosted by Allied Arts & Forterra. Doors open 6 p.m., event 7-9 p.m., Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center. Top 6 invited. Enrique Cerna moderating.
July 15 (Saturday) – CIRCC Mayoral Candidates Forum, hosted by Coalition of Immigrants Refugees and Communities of Color, at Eritrean Association of Greater Seattle, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. No indication as of July 7 as to which candidates are attending.
July 17 (Monday) – Seattle Mayoral Debate, hosted by KING, KUOW, Geekwire and City Club, 6:30-8 p.m., Impact Hub. “Top 6” candidates. Ross Reynolds and Natalie Brand moderating. Top 6 invited. KING and KUOW will air live, and Geekwire will livestream.
July 18 (Tuesday) — Candidate Forum, hosted by Eastlake Community Council. 7-9:30 p.m., Pocock Rowing Center, 3320 Fuhrman Ave. Candidates for mayor plus District 8 & 9 City Council. Submit questions to email@example.com.
July 19 (Wednesday) – Queering Politics Candidate Forum, hosted by LGBTQ Allyship, Southside Commons, 6-9 p.m. With mayoral candidates Nikkita Oliver, Bob Hasegawa, Jenny Durkan, Jessyn Farrell, Mike McGinn, Cary Moon, Jason Roberts, and Alex Tsimerman. Also attending are select Position 8 & 9 candidates. Nicole Keenan, executive director of the Fair Work Center, will moderate.
July 20 (Thursday) — Dark Horse Mayoral Forum, 6-9 p.m., Box House, 124 S. Washington St. Hosted by “dark horse” Jason Roberts. With mayoral candidates Casey Carlisle, Greg Hamilton, Michael Harris, Harley Lever, James Norton and Jason Roberts.
Any others? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
A few weeks ago, we said goodbye to our wonderful project team from the 2016-17 school year. Now comes the “happy” part — welcoming a new team of Seattle U students. Say hello to three new project assistants, all with different backgrounds but a common desire to make a difference in the work to end family homelessness.
Tess Riski, Project Assistant
A rising senior double-majoring in Journalism and Teaching for the Humanities, Tess Riski joined us in mid-June 2017. After some orientation and training, she quickly jumped into our busy summer.
On her first official day in the office, she wrote about what she learned during #SeaHomeless, the day of concerted reporting on homelessness by 20 different local media organizations. She’s also helping us with our collaboration on a voter education project about Seattle’s mayoral election with housing and homelessness partners, including an online voters’ guide and the fall candidate forum.
Finally, she’ll be helping us prepare for the upcoming project with Pongo Teen Writing and Schoolhouse Washington, before doing a study abroad this fall.
Senior Madison Vucci is the fifth Digital Design student to serve on our team. When she joins us in mid-July, we’ll draw upon her design skills to help promote the voter education project and the Pongo project.
Madison says an early understanding of inequality in America is the root of what pushed her to make an impact on society with her art.
Digital Design Prof. Naomi Kasumi, who every year recommends the design student she feels is the best fit for our project, connected us to Madison. Prof. Kasumi first introduced us to Madison’s work by showing Catherine one of her class projects — a phenomenally creative and highly functional civil rights tool that maybe Madison can share more about sometime. Thank you, Prof. Kasumi, for yet again sending a great design student our way.
Check out Madison’s background here. Welcome, Madison!
Katie Bradley, Project Assistant
This fall, Katie Bradley will join our team after a summer internship at Amazon. Katie is a senior double-majoring in Strategic Communications and Public Affairs, which means her education straddles both our previous home in Communications and our current home in the Institute of Public Service.
Katie also works as a resident assistant in one of the SU residence halls and serves as executive vice president of SU American Marketing Association. She learned about our project from her friend and fellow Strat Comm major, our just-graduated project assistant Shan Yonamine. (Thanks, Shan!)
When she’s officially on campus this fall, we’ll ask her to write her bio. Till then, we await her arrival with great anticipation. Welcome, Katie!
Flashback: Revisit some of our previous project teams:
We’ve had many more awesome students on our team — most recently, Haley, Krista, Paige and Emma — and apparently we didn’t do a tribute to all of them because they graduated at different times during the year. You can see some of their great work by entering their names in the search box below.
By Tess Riski, Project Assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness
Editor’s Note: Seattle University Journalism and Teaching for Humanities rising senior Tess Riski recently joined our project team. This is her first post for our project. Read more about her here.
All day this past Wednesday, June 28, a host of Seattle media outlets participated in #SeaHomeless and concentrated their reporting on a group of people often kept in the shadows of mainstream news coverage: those experiencing homelessness.
I just started my position as Project Assistant at the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness, and this last week has been an intense learning process for me. Continue reading →
By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Project on Family Homelessness
The annual tradition of saying goodbye to our graduating student team never gets easier. But here we are again, celebrating the reason why our project remains strong: We choose a team of outstanding student assistants each year, and we get to watch them change the world while they’re still in school. Then it comes time to let go. Continue reading →
By Mandy Rusch, Digital Design Project Assistant 2016-17
What I’m proudest of
I am proudest of the All Home Infographic reporting on this year’s Count Us In data. When I was first brought on as the design assistant here, my supervisor, Catherine, showed me Amy Phung’s One Night Count infographic from 2016 as an example of the type of projects I would be working on. I remember how excited I was about the scope and impact of her work, especially when I heard that it had been used to advocate for policy change.