A new monthly feature is Q and A with members of the Beacon staff. This month, get to know Michael Dahl, Advocacy Coordinator.
Michael, how long have you worked at Beacon?
1 year, 4 months, 14 days, and a few hours.
Describe your job.
Each day I recalibrate my understanding of the political power that a 60+ congregation collaborative can deliver to end homelessness. In the morning I might be planning a meeting with a St. Paul City Councilmember trying to get city resources to build Prior Crossing. In the afternoon, just after lunch, I might be scouring our database to see how many Beacon Citizens live in a particular legislator’s district. And just before I pick up my wife to do yoga, I might be catching a cup of coffee with an advocacy task force leader strategizing how to rally a congregation behind the $100 million for affordable housing pitch. When I go home, while I am walking my 13 year-old puppy Carlos, I often think big thoughts of visuals that can somehow help Beacon Citizens understand the powerful movement they are a part of.
Why do you like working here?
It is an honor to work at an organization that believes in the power of grassroots community organizing and the power of storytelling. What a wonderful way to earn a living!
What’s one thing you are most proud of about your work?
I loved how when at “Let’s Build It” [last year's celebration of HOmeless Youth Act funding and Beacon Citizen advocacy at the Prior Crossing site] Lauren Morse Wendt said she could imagine the day when a similar sized group of people would be gathered in a parking lot in the western suburbs talking about the future site of housing for homeless young adults.
There was a great deal of solidarity-thinking in that statement.
While Lauren articulated it best, I am beginning to hear similar statements from advocacy leaders in our other congregations.
What kind of job would you have if you weren’t so busy helping to end homelessness?
If money weren’t an issue and I wasn’t so busy on this homelessness-thing, I’d probably do something related to sustainable food production issues.
What is your favorite book, movie, comedian, play, sport, pastime?
I love the book “Citizenship Papers” by Wendell Berry … he’s a modern day agrarian. My favorite movies are “Memento,” “American History X,” “Moulin Rouge” and “Best in Show” (off the top of my head). I love to run and do yoga … a lot.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
While many colleagues know it, most others would never have guessed I was a cheerleader in high school, um, I mean “Stunt Man.” I threw people in the air, built human pyramids, and did some flips and kips.
Sometimes I still try to do such things.