More days than not, you can find Patricia either volunteering with organizations that provide “English as a New Language” lessons and citizenship test preparation classes to refugees and immigrants or actively participating in non-partisan or faith-based meetings, demonstrations, rallies, letter-writing campaigns, etc., that have to do with human rights or social justice causes that she is passionate about. She also loves to spend time with her daughter, who also is involved with some of the same causes, whenever their schedules allow for it. Her daughter is the reason Patricia now resides in Dallas.
The seeds of Patricia’s activism were planted during the peak years of the Vietnam War protests that she participated in when she was a high school student in NY state, but have evolved over the decades since then. For example, inspired by the awareness of the need to treat prisoners as people that the Attica Prison Riot brought attention to while she was a college student, together with her undergraduate roommates, she created and implemented a tutoring and an exercise program for women inmates at a local county penitentiary. After moving to the Bay Area of California, while working for the San Francisco Unified School District, Patricia joined in the successful fight against Proposition 6 which would have mandated the firing of any public school teacher in the state who was openly gay or, like her, was in support of gay rights. Once back in WNY, then working for the Buffalo Public Schools District, she served as Chairperson of the School-Based Management Team for the Native American Magnet School- P.S. #19, her home base for more than 30 years, and was a strong advocate for resources and programs that addressed the students’ needs and provided them with a well-rounded education. She also volunteered as the teacher representative of the parents’ group that was charged with overseeing the Native American Cultural Program that was housed in the school, and, during one of those years, was hired as a Curriculum Specialist for the district developing Native American CBRU (Computer-Based Resource Units). In addition, Patricia occasionally worked part-time hours as a facilitator/mentor at both the Buffalo Teacher Resource and Training Center and SETRC (Special Education Teacher and Resource Center) during this time period. After retiring as a full-time teacher, Patricia worked as a substitute teacher for the BPS Health Impaired/Medical Leave Office. She continued to speak up on behalf of all students during that time, and, in addition, joined forces with a group of concerned educators to form AIRE (Alliance for Immigrant and Refugee Education) that focused special attention on the newest population of students enrolling in the city schools, i.e., SIFE (Students with Interrupted Formal Education), whose families had recently been resettled in the United States. That is also when she began to devote more and more time to volunteering with the adult refugees and immigrants who were in need of English language and/or citizenship test preparation instruction.
Prior to becoming a board member of the Dallas Peace & Justice Center and Co-Chair of its Human Rights & Justice Committee, Patricia was a board member of the WNY Peace Center and Chairperson of its Immigrant & Refugee Rights Taskforce. She is thrilled to be able to continue the work she had previously been involved in with such an inspiring and dedicated group of colleagues here in Dallas and particularly excited that the DPJC now includes the Young Advocates Committee.