Monica Beemer will soon leave her role as Station Manager at KBOO and go on to new adventures. We wish her well and want to say a huge thank you for her tremendous efforts, for her incredible accomplishments, for her skilled leadership, and for her unshaken commitment to community building and to social change. Thank you for being a part of KBOO Monica!
I am tremendously lucky to have gotten many opportunities throughout the last three years to work closely with Monica Beemer. As a Board member I interacted with Monica on a regular basis, but Monica and I first started working together before I even joined the Board to bring and develop trainings for our community on anti-oppression, an initiative that we call KBOO’s Beloved Community. I am explaining bellow the importance of those trainings and the incredible legacy Monica Beemer and Mic Crenshaw have left at KBOO by introducing anti-oppression as the lens we use to look critically at all we do.
But first, let’s read what out-going Board Treasurer Michael Wells has to say about his involvement with Monica.
In the Fall of 2013, KBOO had gone through one of its major internal meltdowns, including a power struggle that left distrust and paranoia on both sides. The station had lost money 4 of the previous 5 years, infrastructure was neglected and basic systems and committees had deteriorated. A new board had been elected, and former manager Victoria Stoppiello had stepped in to handle transition, but there was lots broken.
I was on the board Station Manager search committee and we were struggling to find a candidate who could not only manage, but fit KBOO’s culture and work with the various factions. On the last day we received a proposal for co-managers from Monica Beemer and Mic Crenshaw. I knew Monica from a previous job and had watched her transform and stabilize Sisters of the Road. I didn’t know Mic, but his work bridging music and community organizing was impressive. We jumped at the opportunity and the board hired them at the next meeting.
Mic and Monica hit the ground running. We had made the right choice, getting an excellent manager and a strong organizer who could work within KBOO’s culture and build on their own deep community relationships. To keep this brief, here are a few of the many accomplishments of the last 2 ½ years:
Stabilized the staff and volunteers, greatly improving working conditions and effectiveness.
Worked with the new staff union to develop a collaborative relationship.
Started doing staff performance reviews, helping people set and track goals.
Stabilized the finances, with two strong years.
Began working on the large backlog of deferred maintenance and aging, neglected equipment.
Worked with the board on starting to rebuild the committee structure that connects volunteers and members to the station’s management.
Launched KBOO’s first new projects in decades, the server room and production 2.
Completely rebuilt KBOO’s Website and launched a new phone app. Both have the capacity to add a “second stream of programming.
Re-qualified KBOO for Corporation for Public Broadcasting Community Service Grant, bringing in not only new funding but opportunities for additional benefits and creating national programming.
Mic left last year and Monica took on full time management, further expanding all of the above work.
Thanks Monica! You’re leaving KBOO much stronger and healthier as it copes with the challenges of a dramatically changing media landscape.
Thank you Michael! Now read on if you’d like to learn more about KBOO’s Beloved Community work and Monica’s role!
I first came to KBOO when I moved to Portland five years ago because of a prior very positive experience I had had at a community radio station in Bloomington, IN which transformed my life and changed forever the way I looked at community building and at media. And KBOO did not disappoint, but what made me stay and even become more involved with KBOO throughout the years is the true commitment I have found from our KBOO community and its members to try our hardest to make KBOO the most inclusive place it can be!
Over the last three years, Monica Beemer and Mic Crenshaw, who was a station Co-Manager with Monica until last year, have prioritized the strengthening of our community building efforts because they understand how crucial our community cohesion is to a healthy KBOO. They have emphasized the use of an anti-oppression lens to support KBOO’s internal culture to grow towards deeper understanding, love and compassion.
The “Beloved Community” concept, which Monica introduced to us and which is at the core of our anti-oppression work, has given KBOO a framework for ensuring we intentionally create space for dialogue between KBOO community members so our radio station continues to flourish as an egalitarian space for creative collaboration. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior popularized the idea of the “Beloved Community” as “a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth… In the Beloved Community racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.” (The King Center) We are inspired to bring this vision to KBOO.
Monica started by scheduling quarterly trainings for staff, board members and key volunteers to engage in learning about all forms of oppression including racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and anti-oppressive alternatives. The trainings were also focused on discussing the concrete ways oppression happens at KBOO and what we can do about it. Early on, I joined in to help Monica organize the quarterly trainings and support with the follow up work. About two years ago, a group of volunteers, board members and staff decided to organize a monthly discussion and action group to continue the conversation about anti-oppression in between trainings and create space for practicing and acting out the change. This monthly group, which meets the first Saturday of each month at noon at KBOO and is open to all KBOO volunteers, pushed for an opportunity to be created for all volunteers to learn about oppression and practice some effective tools for interrupting oppression at KBOO as well as tools for addressing our own oppressive behaviors.
Since August, long time KBOO volunteer and revered community leader, Celeste Carey and myself have been co-facilitating an anti-oppression 101 workshop for all KBOO volunteers. This workshop is growing and evolving as we enter in conversation with fellow KBOO volunteers about how we can create a safer, more supported, fair and loving space at all times, for all people at KBOO. This deep will from our community and all of its members to engage in grassroots efforts to create a Beloved Community at KBOO is uplifting and it is a true testimony of the legacy that Monica Beemer and Mic Crenshaw are leaving behind at KBOO.
For fifty years our community has been growing to include a larger diversity of folks, opinions and ideas to change the world, now our community is more ready and better-equipped then ever for enacting the change, with love and compassion of course!