She introduced herself with the line, “I’m Flawless.”
This was my very first impression of Allison Julien. It quickly became evident just how amazing Allison is.
From brief conversations to overhearing office chatter, I learned about Allison’s work with We Dream in Black, a campaign to organize and build the leadership capacity of Black domestic workers around the country. As Irene, my supervisor, taught me about the history of NDWA, I learned that Allison was a co-founder of NDWA. From going on outreach sessions to parks with her, I learned how personable Allison is. And from being in the same space as her for about 40 hours a week, I can tell that she is dedicated to, loving towards, and loved by NDWA and those involved with NDWA.
So of course, I grew curious and wanted to learn more about Allison. When the opportunity arose – I asked her for an interview.
And it was pretty inspiring, to say the least.
Allison shared how she felt the need to do more from her first full-time job as a nanny. However, 10 years pasted before she was introduced to domestic worker organizing.
It wasn’t until Ai-jen Poo was doing outreach in the Upper West Side and talked to her, that Allison would formally learn ways she could get involved in fighting for the rights of domestic workers.
She handed me a flyer and started talking to me about workers coming together and at that time they were fighting for a city bill that they were lobbying for. […] And I was just so excited. It was almost like an angel had fallen out of heaven. […] I had 10 years of questions to ask her. […] I clearly remember her writing the directions on the flyer in a red ink pen. That’s how clear to this day it’s still in my head.
Clearly, learning about domestic worker organizing was a moment for which Allison was waiting.
When I asked Allison about what she saw herself doing in the future, she was pretty sure that she would grow old doing domestic worker organizing, regardless of what that looked like. For her, it was never about the money. After all, she had spent 10 years volunteering with Domestic Workers United (and that was while she was also working full-time as a nanny!) before working full-time with the New York chapter of NDWA.
The interview with Allison was much more than this. But even in the little parts of the interview that I shared here, I gained so much.
Before me was a woman who loves what she does, who is so intent about learning and teaching about organizing domestic workers. Everything she says, everything she does – there was no question that she had really found her calling.
Something about that was so beautiful and inspiring and uplifting.
But like I mentioned before, the interview was much more than this. I was given an hour of Allison’s time and gained so many nuggets of wisdom. The impact this has had on me, and the gratitude that I feel for it, is still too profound for me to try to articulate fully in this lil ol’ blog post… I hope to find a way to express it in the work that I do soon.