Oakland Voices Alumni Spotlight: Debora Gordon

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Oakland Voices has trained dozens of community journalists over the years. We caught up with one of our alumna, Debora Gordon.

In our last update about Gordon, we mentioned that she published a children’s book. As a freelance journalist, she has continued writing about 10-12 stories a year for online news publications. Her most recent story for Oakland Voices focused on the sudden termination of a longtime OUSD teacher.

After retiring from the Oakland Unified as a teacher after 30 years in the district, Gordon moved to Ashland, Oregon last May. Shortly after, she began freelancing for the Ashland News, an online publication focusing on local stories. There, she’s written about the first African American and openly gay member of the city council and a story about Ashland High’s Truth to Power club, among other articles.

Gordon continues to put her teaching chops to use, including at Word & Image, a class integrating writing and art at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University. She also plans to work with some of the adult Ukrainian refugees as a volunteer ESL teacher.

In addition, she credits her storytelling following a former student, who is incarcerated, in her interest in restorative justice and people who are incarcerated. In January, she plans to work with Golden Rule Reentry, an organization based in Medford, Oregon, which supports those who have been released from prison.

The Oakland Voices alumna was recently interviewed by Rick Vann for Age of Adventure, a radio program in Oregon which “highlights the positive side of growing older.” Another goal? Gordon says, “while I have several novels accumulating years of virtual dust, retirement has given me more time to write and I hope to finish at least first drafts by June of 2023.”

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