Staff Candidate Statement

Vajra Kilgour ((co-producer, Community Bulletin Board, substitute host for Housing Notebook, vice chair, Metropolitan Council on Housing; member, New York Zapatistas) Click here for candidate questionnaire.

Vajra Kilgour

I am a member of the Community Bulletin Board crew and a substitute host for Housing Notebook. I was very active in Concerned Friends of WBAI and the struggle to take the station back from its would-be hijackers.

I believe it’s extremely important for WBAI to model better social and political structures while we’re pointing out the contradictions of the existing ones around us. In this sense, the degree of diversity at the station represents a huge step forward – but only one step of many. The way in which governance is developed can be a model for a healthier society – or a nightmare. So far, we’ve had some of each. I’d like to help move this experiment in the direction of an exemplary model.

I’ve had very useful experience as a tenant and housing organizer: I helped fight off an empty-out in my building, sat on the original board of directors of the Harlem Tenants Council, and have been a board member of the of the Metropolitan Council on Housing since 1998 (recently elected vice chair). I’ve also gotten some very helpful expertise through attending and teaching workshops at the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, including workshops in fundraising and conflict resolution. I have good Spanish-language skills, which should be helpful for outreach in Spanish-speaking communities.

I’ve also spent many years studying healing, including non-invasive, non-confrontational ways of healing the rifts and discords among various groups of people; I hope to be able to integrate some of what I’ve learned in this area into the struggles that lie ahead.

I have followed the Zapatista struggle in southeastern Mexico with deep interest. Their radical organizational democracy, their ability to connect with struggles around the world, their powerful, unfettered sense of humor, and their commitment to truth-telling and human dignity are all extremely attractive to me. Instead of striving to take power and impose change from the top down, the Zapatistas are struggling to dismantle the hierarchies of power, from the most intimate to the global. I would like to take some inspiration from what I’ve learned from their struggle to create a radically democratic model of our own, with maximum participation at the base and minimal control from the top – with power coming up from the station level rather than down from the national board or from the national office.

As a member of the WBAI Justice and Unity campaign (www.justiceunity.org), I am fully in agreement with its platform, and I aim to work toward the implementation of this platform in as harmonious a way as is humanly possible. In particular, I want to help implement more openness in every sense of the word at every level of governance – more of the light of day on the station’s workings, and more readiness to receive what everyone has to offer. We got our radio station back; now it’s time to take back the planet – and we can use our radio station to help do it.

Click here for candidate questionnaire.

Contact: nuralanwar@yahoo.com