Ellie Gordon

Why do you do what you do?

I believe that access to safe housing is a basic human right. As a social worker on the Housing team, I am grounded in the reality that my clients often face multi-layers of oppression and must navigate inhumane bureaucracies and legal systems. I see it as my job to relentlessly advocate for my clients’ goals of wholeness and wellness. In the words of Mike Mertz, I do what I do because “everyone has the right to be free from having problems caused by trauma and injustice located inside of them, as if there is a deficit in them. The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.” I am motivated by the resistance of my clients.

What drew you to EBCLC?

After interning as a social work student in the housing unit in 2016, I knew after graduating that I had to return. Where else would I get to collaborate with radical lawyers, gritty advocates, brilliant students and policy makers? In the non-profit industrial complex, not many organizations can hold tight to their grassroots social justice ideals. EBCLC is home to an ever evolving vison of collective liberation I want for our world.

Favorite Book:

I read a lot but right now my favorite book is probably “Lonely City” by Olivia Laing. It is part memoir, part art history and includes the stories of important queer artists and weirdos.

I practice wellness by…

Slowing down. Swimming when I can. Seeing the sea. Going to therapy. Reaching out to friends. Making art. Reminding myself that as a disabled person I get to resist ableist capitalist notions of production and help others do the same.

The best piece of advice I have given or been given is…

…change will never occur through shame or self-hatred, only love.