I see building as how I approach everything I do.” says Josina Manu Maltzman.

“Every metaphor goes back to carpentry for me – how to enter a story is how you enter a house. I love the generative process of writing, but I also the editing, finetuning, constructing a story through the pieces I’ve generated. It’s is very much like building a room or building a cabinet.”

Josina Manu Maltzman describes themselves as a “rabble-rouser,” writer, and carpenter. By day, Maltzman handcrafts cabinets and countertops in homes across the Twin Cities. At night they go home to lay on the couch next to their dog and write about what they observe. Like writing and carpentry, their commitment to political activism is a part of their everyday work.

I really feel strongly that it’s the work of people with privilege to un-do oppression. And so, I’m engaged in anti-Zionism work as a Jew, in supporting Palestine liberation, I’m engaged in abolition work under Black leadership, and also take a lot of initiative from Dakota organizers here locally in supporting their efforts in sovereignty. in the building context, I see these other visionaries and leaders as the architects of the work and myself as the carpenter. What are the smaller pieces, like what are the steps to building the vision? Who needs to come together? What wall needs to go there? Where’s the door? How do you actually hang the window, if the visionaries are saying ‘we need a window!’ over here?”

Emily Krumberger reports for KFAI’s MinneCulture’s Ten Thousand Fresh Voices series.

Filiberto Nolasco Gomez is a former union organizer and former editor of Minneapolis based Workday Minnesota, the first online labor news publication in the state. Filiberto focused on longform and investigative journalism. He has covered topics including prison labor, labor trafficking, and union fights in the Twin Cities.

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