Today is my last day working for Students for Sensible Drug Policy after being hired right out of college 11 years ago. It’s hard for me to put into words how much this organization means to me, but I’m going to give it a shot. Even on the most difficult days (of which there were many), I still woke up each day feeling overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to have my dream job, working to end the drug war by supporting the incredible young people who share that passion.
I married an SSDPer, and was married by an SSDPer. I met most of my closest friends through SSDP. I have SSDP’s tax ID and bank account numbers memorized, but I don’t always remember my own social security number.
I’ve worn nearly every hat that exists in our organization, including chapter member, chapter leader, intern, board member, outreach coordinator, director, and even interim executive director. SSDP has provided me with almost every professional opportunity I’ve ever had, including some weird ones.
I’ve spoken at huge rallies and conducted dozens and dozens of small intimate trainings. I’ve protested on the steps of the Supreme Court, and outside of the White House, embassies, and the United Nations. I testified before the DC city council and the Maryland state legislature. I’ve been on TV (once, haha), on the radio, and in print media talking about drug policy. I’ve phonebanked and canvassed for successful ballot measure campaigns, and unsuccessful ballot measure campaigns.
I got snowed in with SSDPers for several days during a chapter visit. I rushed to the office at 2am because of a fire (everything was fine). I rescued a bird from the office chimney. I smashed old office furniture so that the junk removal people could get it out. I painted the whole office as part of an office move, and found new office spaces twice.
I met two actors from The Wire, and two members of Public Enemy, and thanked them for their support of our cause. I have worn a George Washington costume to raise money (not SSDP’s idea, to be clear).
I learned how to draft and negotiate contracts, how to manage finances and compliance, and how to do a million other boring but essential administrative functions. I’ve hired and coached more than 70 people. I helped raise $100,000 in 59 days as Interim Executive Director. I’ve wrangled over 9+ annual strategy summits and global conferences.
And most importantly, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and supporting thousands of inspirational young drug policy activists.
As for what I’m doing next, I don’t know yet. I’m taking a little time off to rest and recenter, but after that I’d love to take my skills to another organization fighting for justice. So, if you hear of anything, you can find me on LinkedIn.
To the thousands of SSDPers who comprise this one of a kind family, thank you for trusting me to serve you. I can’t wait to see the incredible things you’ll do in the next decade. And hopefully after that we’ll have ended the drug war and we can close up shop and have a giant party to end all parties. Until then, I’m excited to stay involved with SSDP as a member of the Alumni Association, an SSDP Mentor, and as a volunteer member of several board committees. I’m an SSDPer for life.
And thanks again, see you all next time. <3