April 6, 2021 – In the summer of 2020, Micah Rodriguez joined the Humanities Council team and for the past eight months she has been an integral part of the Council’s work supporting our remote office operations, diving into database management with an eye towards relationship building, and ensuring that our dedicated board members feel connected to the Council’s work and the projects of our grantees.
Micah Rodriguez came to the Council in July 2020 with nearly eight years of nonprofit development experience, with a special focus on the Rhode Island nonprofit arts and culture community. In her role as Program Coordinator, Micah supports the Council’s development, communications, and grantmaking programs bringing her attention to detail and collaborative systems-thinking to bear on operations.
Previous to joining the Council team, Micah served as Development & Grants Manager at AS220 where she was co-creator of Confronting Violence Through Youth-Oriented Media, an international exchange between AS220 and IZOLYATSIA, an arts organization in Kiev, Ukraine, supported by the American Alliance of Museums and the U.S. State Department. This program brought together youth in Rhode Island and young people displaced by the conflict in Ukraine to envision a bold, new world through creative expression. Additionally, Micah is Co-Creative Director/Founder of How it Ends Studio, LLC. a Providence-based production studio and home of the How it Ends podcast. How it Ends is an immersive, mystery audio drama podcast recorded and produced at AS220 Industries, streaming on all podcast platforms.
Micah has a B.A. in Political Science from Rhode Island College (RIC) with a self-directed minor combining politics with Studio Art, Creative Writing, and Sociology. During her time at RIC, she also spent two years as a volunteer Student Area Coordinator & Death Penalty Abolition Workshop Facilitator for Amnesty International USA. She is a Puerto Rican Providence transplant by way of New Jersey (with a few other detours) and has called Rhode Island home since 2006. In her free time, she is a mixed media artist, writer, storyteller, amateur archer, and avid reader/audiobook listener/consumer of all things mystery-related.
A Conversation with Micah Rodriguez:
What attracted you to the Council in the first place?
I’ve spent most of my nonprofit career in a grantseeking position, which gave me a clear perspective on how vital general operating and project support can be to an organization. I was most excited to be on the other side of that process and to assist in bringing that support to incredible organizations that are committed to equity and access through the humanities.
How have you seen the Council make an impact on Rhode Islanders?
The Humanities Council increased its grantmaking support threefold during the pandemic. These funds allowed organizations to pivot in a dire situation and continue their offerings while also developing programming that captures this historic moment. Moreover, while not an easy task, moving to virtual programming also allowed for events to reach audiences that may have otherwise not engaged.
As Rhode Island, and the country, continue to navigate the challenges of a global pandemic – what role can the humanities play in bridging differences?
The humanities has a responsibility to challenge false narratives and uplift the voices of communities that have long been silenced. The pandemic put a spotlight on this erasure in such a way that no longer can anyone claim they are unaware of the deep divides in our country. The humanities is and should be a method of keeping that light shining on efforts to dismantle white supremacy and truly serve all people equitably.
What’s something you have read, watched, or listened to lately that’s been inspiring or thought provoking?
How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones is one of the best books I’ve read in the past couple of years and is a work I revisit often. Jones’ memoir is emotionally forthright, honest, and a narrative that needs to be read by everyone, especially those who are committed to protecting Black, Indigenous/People Of Color and LGBTQ+ lives.
Q: What are you most excited about for the year to come?
A: I am excited to see how much of what we learned about virtual programming in this last year, in terms of adapting service methods, can be incorporated permanently into future work. I’d love to see accessibility, especially for disabled and chronically ill folks, become a standard in humanities programming and the general workforce.