Cast Spotlight: Jessie Keating

04.26.2018

 

Jessie Keating is a mother, a writer, an activist for social justice, a fundraiser, and a political campaigner who is here to collect wisdom and call bullshit. She is a fierce advocate for children and for institutional equity, particularly in education, particularly in Pittsford schools, and would like all the black people to win all the time.  She currently fundraises for Mozilla Foundation, which fuels a global social movement toward a healthier, more humane digital world.

 

Jessie previously founded Imagine Syracuse to provide free arts and enrichment to children living below the poverty line. She fund-raised for Bivona Child Advocacy Center to help child victims of sexual abuse, and led teenagers on service projects to orphanages in the Dominican Republic.  Jessie lives in Pittsford with her husband Dan, their two daughters, Maggie and Lila, and their two dogs, Knuckles and Honey.

 

Who inspires you?

I channel inspiration from an Algonquin-style salon of sages and writers who live in my brain, including but not limited to:  Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Mary Karr, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jesus, Buddha, and Prince.

 

What piece of writing has moved or inspired you?

In his book of wisdom about the art of human relationships titled "The Mastery of Love," Don Miguel Ruiz writes "If we could take humans out of the creation of the universe, we would see that the whole creation -- the stars, the moon, the plants, the animals, everything -- is perfect just the way it is. Life doesn't need to be justified or judged; without us, it keeps going the way it is. If you put humans in that creation, but take away the ability to judge, you will find we are exactly like the rest of nature. We are not good or bad or right or wrong; we are just the way we are."

 

What is one of your favorite parenting moments, as a parent or as a daughter/son?

Where else but at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? It was a rainy November morning and we were first inside the park. The whole family olympic speed-walked toward Hogwarts Castle and the Forbidden Journey ride. Somebody broke into a run and the rest of us followed suit. We splashed our way on again and again until the line became prohibitive, then sipped our butterbeers on the way to Hogsmeade Village. There, looming before us, stood Ollivander's. The wand shop's snaking line of anxious reverent humanity almost staved us off, almost. We shifted from leg to leg for more than an hour when suddenly the doors flew open and in we filed. All humans hushed as our eyes adjusted to the darkened shelves stacked with long rectangular boxes. We knew the great wand wizard would scan the crowd carefully for two lucky muggles chosen to be fitted for their very first wands. These are the faces of the chosen, and I've never cried so hard in my life:

 

 

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