Presenter Q&A with Liz Dozier: challenging systems of oppression
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Liz Dozier, Founder and CEO of Chicago Beyond, has been in the philanthropic space for a relatively short time, but she’s spent her life serving the community, including as a school principal. In the Upswell workshop, “Taking the Bias Out of Social Impact Research,” Liz will share insights to help you serve your community more effectively. We caught up with Liz to learn more about her, plus why she says she’s optimistic about the direction humanity is heading.
Q: If you could have dinner with any living person, who would it be and why?
LD: That’s a really hard question. I think I’m going to say Michelle Obama. I admire what she’s done with her career and life and how rooted she still is. I saw her out on the book tour — she obviously has access and privilege. But she’s still so grounded in the people and in providing young women and young men pathways to live whole lives. I’d love to sit down, learn from, and be in fellowship with her.
Q: What one change can changemakers make to have a bigger impact on the communities they serve?
LD: People who are working in communities are doing the right work. There are systemic things in place that are holding people back. So for me, it’s not so much that people working in communities need to do something different, it’s rather how do we all build connective tissue among “changemakers” and make sure we are challenging systems of oppression for people. That’s what we should be thinking about and doing more of. Oftentimes in this space we can be so siloed, but there is power in the collective.
Q: What’s one thing that you’re deeply proud of but would never put on your résumé?
LD: I’m proud of my family — my parents and my sister, who we are as a family, all of the things we’ve overcome, and how we love each other.
Q: What’s more important – doing the right thing, or doing things right?
LD: Doing things right is subjective. People have followed laws through history that said “this is how you’re supposed to do things,” and it’s actually been the wrong thing, right? In my mind, it’s about having values that guide decisions that are aligned to liberatory consciousness – the freedom of all people. That is what’s important.
Q: Is humanity headed in the right or wrong direction?
LD: I think this is like, is the glass half empty or is the glass half full? It depends on what your perspective is. There are a lot of things happening in society today that go against freedom and liberation for all people. We can see that not only in our country, but across the globe. I choose to see people who are rising up, who are speaking for people, who are investing in our democracy and trying to create places and spaces so that all people can lead a free and healthy life
Taking the Bias out of Social Impact Research is happening Wednesday, November 13 from 3 – 4pm ET.