A Personal Message from Becky Rafter

Hi Georgia WAND family! 

We’re making a big announcement on Monday, but first I have some news to share! 

I’m excited to let you know that the time is nigh for me to take on a new challenge and leave Georgia WAND to the experts! I’m heading to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where I’ll focus on nuclear harm reduction as a member of the inaugural class of the School of Public Policy’s Sustainable Energy and Environmental Management master’s degree program. I received one of five fellowships to study full-time and support related research. Part of my charge is to help spread the word – so please add “MSEEM” to your list of acronyms!! 

I’ve loved working with the Georgia WAND community, learning and growing side-by-side, as we advance justice and self-determination within communities directly affected by the nuclear industry, inequitable public funding, systemic violence, and other vestiges of white supremacy in Georgia. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to serve this incredibly unique and widely supported organization. 

During my 6.5-year tenure, we had many successes: 

  • Establishing community-centered, Jemez-principled approach to Georgia WAND’s work, centering racial, gender, environmental, and climate justice in communities directly affected by injustice;
  • Brokering the Radionuclide Education, Monitoring, and Outreach Program (REMOP) of the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Lab, a three-year, participatory radiological environmental sampling program in east Burke County, Georgia;
  • Managing a successful Just Transition for executive leadership; bringing on the first permanent staff members from frontline communities in rural Georgia; and establishing pay equity within the organization;
  • Developing Nuclear Harm Reduction (NHR), a framework, tool, strategy, and model to advance sustainable, equitable communities, informed by people living and working around the nuclear industry; and
  • Tripling the number of foundation partners; doubling all general operating grants; and increasing the organizational budget nearly 100% over six years.

None of these successes would be possible without our hard-working, committed, and loving squad of staff; the day-in, day-out, sleeves-rolled-up work of Dianne Valentin, our fearless board president, and Georgia WAND’s board of directors; our tried and true coalition partners who always have our back; our amazing, forward-thinking foundation partners; our canvassers and volunteers who ride or die with Georgia WAND and serve up consistent encouragement; our fierce, dedicated, generous, passionate, and always-there-for-us donors; and our community elders, especially Annie Laura Howard Stephens. 

Thank you ALL for your tremendous hard work! My time at Georgia WAND will stay with me, especially as I ground my academic work in community and continue supporting Lindsay and the team.

Speaking of Lindsay…. this awe-inspiring, made-for-the-job leader is immeasurably effective in her role as Executive Director. For those in the know, Lindsay Harper is the real deal. And for those who haven’t gotten to sit down with her yet – you’re in for a treat. Her vision, style, and captivating leadership is taking Georgia WAND to higher heights! I often say she’s the best thing that ever happened to the organization. Come see why!

Georgia WAND is flourishing. Lindsay is hiring a Development Lead, and my wish is that you help me honor her by making a gift to Georgia WAND to support her new hire. Together the Georgia WAND community will make a big impact in 2020!

I can’t pledge much now that I’m a student, but I’ll continue doing what I can. In fact, I think I’ll become a monthly Sustainer so Lindsay sees my name every month on the Network for Good report and is reminded how much I believe in her. You should do the same! 

Thanks again for supporting my work! It’s been an honor to serve Georgia WAND. If you’d like to stay in touch, my email is beckyrafter@gmail.com and my cell is (678) 637-3744. 

With love and community, 

Becky Rafter