Homelessness Interview Essay

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I met Julie at the Homelessness in Berkeley panel that she moderated in September. I appreciated her discussion of the import of imagery, stereotypes, and language in shaping our social structures and circumstances. For example, she explained that she said “people experiencing homelessness” instead of “homeless people” to not label the person as if to define them by their circumstances. I would add that the latter phrase, like others of its ilk, can serve to insidiously “naturalize” those structures that harm folks and thus seemingly absolve those of us with privilege within it of our duty to work to change them. My interview with Julie expanded on this theme.
Introduction of Interviewee
Julie Winkelstein is a self-described social justice librarian with the following degrees: BA in Dramatic Arts from University of California, Berkeley; Master 's in Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, California; and Ph.D. in Communication & Information, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Julie worked in public libraries for many years; is finishing postdoctoral research on LGBTQ youth homelessness and public libraries; and has only very recently started the nonprofit Mind the Gap, which aims to address family and child homelessness through social justice and using public libraries. To fulfill her role(s) as administrator and researcher working with agencies and the public, she has needed a commitment to social justice, based on work/life experiences in jails and

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