Volunteer Spotlight: Marcus Davis

March 6, 2019 in inQueery

Volunteer Spotlight is an InQueery series where we introduce you to some of the many volunteers that make up the heart of Pacific Center.  Today, we’re chatting with Marcus, who helps with both peer group and front desk duties.

 

Hi Marcus!  First of all, can you introduce yourself to our readers?  We’d love to hear a little more about your life outside Pacific Center!

I am an SF Bay Area native who was born and raised in the East Bay (Oakland and Newark).  Currently, I live in Berkeley with my partner and our daughter after living in Montreal, Quebec for a few years. The landscape of the Bay Area is continually changing.  When we decided to return to the SF Bay Area, it was important to us that we live somewhere that still retained some of the diversity, inclusiveness, creativity, and sense of community that we had loved about the Bay Area.  For us, Berkeley was at the front of the line.
I have spent the past several years being a stay at home dad and a musician.  While both have been incredibly rewarding, now that my daughter is older I know that it is time for me to look towards my next adventure.  As, I consider graduate school and future career choices, coming to The Pacific Center was an obvious choice for me.  My undergraduate degree from San Francisco State is in Clinical Psychology, and my original career path had been in the non-profit world. Previously, I have worked at Bay Area Youth Centers and Hamilton Family Center. However, immediately prior to staying at home, I had worked in Human Resources in the private sector.  I have recently returned to it working at UC Berkeley.  However, I know long term this will not be fulfilling.  Becoming a volunteer at Pacific Center has enabled me to reconnect with my love of creating, giving back to, and being part of a community.

 

 

That’s great – it sounds like you are a real pillar of our Bay Area community!  What do you do in your spare time?

Outside of my work life, I am a creative person, who loves music.  I enjoy songwriting and performing my works.  Additionally, I enjoy listening to live music.  I connect with many forms of art: painting, sculpture, literature, etc.  However, music has always reached me in a way that no other medium can.  I enjoy exploring these different forms of art with my partner and our daughter.  It is beautiful to watch my daughter find her own connection to the creative world and to share this with her.

 

 

That’s such a gift – both your talent and the way you are providing that creative space for her.

So, it seems like you are no stranger to Bay Area community spaces, but how did you get involved at Pacific Center specifically?  What activities do you participate in here?
I have been volunteering at The Pacific Center since October 2018, and it has been my pleasure to contribute to the organization any way I can.  Currently, I volunteer as front desk help and as a co-facilitator for the Thursday night Men’s Prime Time group.

 

 

And what’s your favorite part, or parts, of those roles?

What I enjoy most about volunteering is the connection I feel to others while working to support commonly held beliefs or values. I was taught at an early age that when you have a concern or perceive a need, taking action is paramount. Whether it be the church, school or your neighborhood, being an active community member is not only necessary it is vital to the health and well being of all concerned.  I have been impressed and inspired by the dedicated staff and other volunteers in my short time at the Pacific Center!

 

 

So, from your experience here or more broadly, what LGBTQ issues are most important to you?

There are many issues that concern me within the LGBTQ community. The aging gay male population is one. This aging population is of interest to me because the psychology of its members is often different from their straight counterparts.  Many of these men do not have families of their own, and many are single. They face specific challenges concerning aging and their support networks.  Some are isolated from their families of origin and even the larger culture in to which they were born.  As I work together with my partner to manage the aging of our own parents, my awareness of this issue is heightened.
I am also particularly concerned about transgender individuals in our community….specifically their rights and safety within the larger society.  I don’t want to get political!  However, the direction of the current administration has me worried.  To that end, I always try to stay informed on the political climate and ready to act when necessary. As an HR professional, I am an advocate when it comes to policymaking and workplace culture.  In my daughter’s grade school, some children are already questioning or even know they are transgender.  As a parent, I do my best to help support her supporting her friends. I am continually trying to understand further and be sensitive to the needs of the transgender community. I am always wanting to find ways to extend myself as an ally without overstepping.

 

 

Yeah, I’m sure that can be tricky, especially with kids – but those efforts are so important.  Last question – who inspires you?

There are many famous people that inspire me and it’s easy to call them out: James Baldwin: for the courage to gracefully be who he was in the face of such extreme homophobia and racism. Maya Angelou: for the wisdom born out of her own struggles that she imparted upon the world.  But at the end of the day I guess who inspires me most is: The everyday person who’s life struggles seem insurmountable, and yet they find the strength to rise up everyday and get out of bed.  Sometimes just getting waking up is heroic in my opinion.  Too preachy?  Maybe.  But I’m the grandson of Baptist Minister so I can’t help it.

 

 

Amen! 🙂  Thank you so much for sharing, Marcus.  We’ll look forward to seeing you on Thursdays!

The Primetime Men’s Group is for male-identified people ages 40-60 and meets from 7:00-9:00 pm on Thursdays at Pacific Center.  If this sounds like a good fit for you, drop in!

 

If you would like to be featured in the volunteer spotlight, please email Jared at jfields@pacificcenter.org