REALITY: Describe what you do and how you are trying to make an impact.
Alexis: I run Students for Education Reform, which I co-founded in college. We are a national student organizing movement. Our members who are college students run advocacy campaigns to improve the K-12 districts they attended, so more young people can reach their dreams of college.
REALITY: What was the most meaningful moment on your REALITY journey?
Alexis: I remember sitting on top of Masada, hearing a lecture about ways Jewish people have transmitted values and traditions even under siege. That story agitated me to think about what it really means to champion our values and the causes we stand for. Will they exist in thousands of years, even stronger? What are we willing to risk and sacrifice? Considering these questions in the context of a foreign region, country, culture and religion was a powerful experience.
REALITY: How did REALITY impact your personally?
Alexis: I emerged from the experience with more compassion and more ambition. I also emerged with deeper thinking about diversity, injustice and tolerance. It’s a special opportunity to consider diversity in the context of Israeli society, co-existence and conflict with Palestine, and the difference between people and their governments.
REALITY: How have you shifted reality since your return?
Alexis: I’m shifting REALITY through my work engaging young Americans to step into their agency and use the democratic process to demand universal quality public schools.
REALITY: How have you stay connected to Israel since you returned from your REALITY journey?
Alexis: The friendships are a huge way that I stay connected. I see or talk to people from REALITY every single week. I’ve built incredible friendships -- we help and support each other, push each other, inspire each other, and have so much fun together.
I also read the news about the Middle East much more closely. When you visit, you realize how vibrant and nuanced and beautiful the culture is, and how much news coverage leaves out. I left feeling much more invested in a peace process, despite the ways the situation is profoundly frustrating.
REALITY: Since REALITY, how do you “do” Shabbat? Share a story.
Alexis: Shabbat has been an incredible ritual to participate in. It’s easy to plug into a REALITY Shabbat in any city, and it’s a grounding pulse check after the week. There’s space to celebrate, to breathe, to share what’s challenging, and to really connect as humans. Having an intentional space to share and ask for support is powerful.
As someone who isn’t Jewish, I’m continuously stunned by the generous ways I’ve been included in rituals like Shabbat and Well Circles. Visiting Israel in a mixed group of Americans was truly moving.
REALITY: What do you want the REALITY community to know about you?
Alexis: I would love to connect about grassroots organizing, electing phenomenal public servants into office, building multiracial organizations, and deepening friendships. I want to meet every single REALITY person I don’t know yet!
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.