Hide yourself in God, so when a man wants to find you he will have to go there first.
Yana’s family includes Navy doctors, artists, scientists, former school board members, and the Democratic nominee for Michigan’s House District 80 in the last election, her big brother, Mark.
Her grandfather was also the editor of the largest union newspaper in the country, after a long and distinguished union career with the railroads.
Her first major march for human rights was the big gay rights march on Washington DC in 1993. Since then, she has participated in numerous Take Back the Night events, Women’s marches, anti-war and pro-science protests, and many ecological activist actions including the People’s Climate March in NYC in 2014. In college she was in student government, a campus leader of the MN Public Interest Research Group, and a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Student Alliance. Yana is a sexual assault survivor, and has dealt with various forms of gender and class discrimination.
Yana’s professional career has focused on the nonprofit sector, where she has been the Director of numerous nonprofits including Project Grow Community Gardens, Recycling Jackson, the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture, and Commonomics USA. She has also served on the Board and/or Oversight team of the nonprofit Foundation for Intentional Community for a decade.
She has also lived most of her adult life in residential intentional communities, where she has been a pioneer of cooperative and sustainable systems. Much of her work these days is as a consultant and trainer for intentional communities, nonprofits and worker-owned cooperatives, helping groups get along better, make better decisions, and answer questions about what locally self-determined, post-carbon living can look like. As a professional facilitator, she is used to deep listening and having to take disparate needs and find solutions that work for everyone, a skill which would serve her well as a public official. She is the co-founder of Wyoming’s only active intentional community, the Solidarity Collective.
Yana started college at Carleton College in Minnesota before transferring to Eastern Michigan University to get her interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree. She did a year of graduate school and taught freshman comp before stepping out of academia. She has made recent forays back into that world as a co-researcher along with Dr’s Zach Rubin and Don Willis studying effective cooperative systems.
Yana’s 2017 award winning book Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption includes a chapter on economic and legal reform. This work fed into her participation in the New Economy Coalition’s policy platform committee for 7 months. Her 2013 TEDx talk, Sustainable is Possible! looks at the power of community living as a tool for addressing social isolation and economic insecurity, and curbing excessive carbon emissions. Her extensive public speaking continues similar themes.
In the course of community living, Yana has done organic gardening (including once managing a 3 acre garden for three summers) and built her own off-grid, strawbale house at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Alas, her green thumb struggles a bit in Wyoming, but she now takes an unreasonable amount of delight in her community chicken flock. Yana does almost all of her long distance travel on Amtrak, and loves being able to see the country from that vantage point. In fact her first cross-country train trip took her on a now defunct route through northern Wyoming. On that trip, she declared Wyoming the most beautiful state in the country.
Yana was a huge fan of backpacking, camping and canoeing until chronic Lyme disease landed her in a seriously compromised state for 3 years starting in late 2009. While her Lyme is largely in remission now, her hobbies have turned less active since then. She loves cooking, playing Cities and Knights of Catan, and going to concerts, and her go-to stress-relief is what she calls “fiction therapy”. She also does regular support work for other people less fortunate in their struggle with tick borne illnesses.
Since coming to Wyoming in the fall of 2016, Yana has become a member of Laramie’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and has been active in various community organizing efforts, including organizing a benefit auction for Standing Rock in 2017. Most recently, she was a founding member of Albany County for Proper Policing, a community group formed in response to the fatal shooting of Robbie Ramirez, a mentally ill Latino man, by sheriff’s deputy Derek Colling. She has also worked as a regional organizer for Showing Up for Racial Justice, and worked for Big Hollow Food Co-op and the Earth, Wind and Fire Gallery, both in downtown Laramie.
She also co-founded the Solidarity House Cooperative, which features a podcast producing Wyoming progressive media.
Yana’s favorite things about Wyoming include Vedauwoo, antelope, the public school system, amazing star watching, the Laramie Mural project, Thermopolis and Yellow Stone, and UW Women’s Basketball. Her community collectively owns one of Wyoming’s oldest homes, the Holliday Mansion, which they are slowly restoring to its former glory after years of neglect.
(Note: for anyone looking into Yana’s background, you should know that she has changed her name twice. If confused, contact the campaign and we will help you sort it out.)
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