A Letter From Our New Executive Director
June 30th, 2020
Dear community members, colleagues and grantors,
My name is Jay Banks (they/them), and I have accepted the position of Executive Director at Pizza Klatch. I wanted to take the time to introduce myself and give you an idea of the direction Pizza Klatch is headed. We find ourselves in a time of fear due to COVID-19 and the simultaneous uprising in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement finally getting the attention it deserves. This moment has seen many organizations and companies begin to take a hard look at where their values and policies land regarding access and accountability to BIPOC. Pizza Klatch has to do the same.
I moved to Olympia, Washington from Washington, DC after teaching Preschool and Elementary age students for 3 years. I came here specifically to work with the youth in this city and use my lived experiences to uplift and care for students who could see themselves represented in me. I received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies with an LGBTQ+ focus from George Mason University. During my time there, I helped create and run a student group called TQ Mason that still exists to this day. Supporting Trans and Queer students and community members has always been important work to me. I received my Masters in Early Childhood Education from Trinity Washington University and the Inspired Teachers Certification Program. I was blessed to work with young children for the time that I did and will always have a love for education. I’ve brought my passion for education to training and workshops that I’ve done for Pizza Klatch as a Facilitator/Advocate for the past two years. I am currently finishing up the Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy to help support my second role as the Replication Manager for Pizza Klatch. In August I will be receiving an Ivy League Certificate from University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice and National Arts Strategies.
Since I have been employed at Pizza Klatch I have seen lots of opportunities in regards to how we can show up for BIPOC and the trans community in a more respectful and intentional way. The shift I have seen from an organization that was all white, to the representation we now have for students is vitally important. We still have a lot of work to do, though, and I hope that we can further represent all students and meet their needs. I am proud to be a part of these developments and create these changes along with my coworkers. Moving forward, we plan to restructure the way we do our work to be more equitable, anti-racist, and to uplift the voices of the most marginalized. We will continue to support students during the summer and advocate for rights and justice for all. Through this unprecedented time, we are continuing to work with the schools to ensure LGBTQ+ students receive resources and support they deserve. We would love your continued support as we embark on this collective journey.