Michelle Crentsil

Michelle Crentsil

A.B. '10
Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and African and African-American Studies
Michelle Crentsil

Since graduating in May 2010, I’ve been busy with a variety of different activities, and WGS has prepared me immeasurably for everything I do. I currently work as an organizer for the Committee of Interns and Residents, a resident physician union local of SEIU Healthcare, in New York City. As the oldest and largest housestaff union in the country, the CIR represents over 13,000 interns, residents, and fellows. CIR offers medical residents a vital means of improving salary, working conditions, educational and training opportunities. My job is to facilitate physicians’ efforts to organize for these improvements and to optimize patient care in a way that improves conditions both inside and outside hospitals.

In addition to my professional organizing career, I’ve been active with Occupy Wall Street (OWS). I started participating early and helped form the People of Color Working Group to address the lack of diversity at OWS and to develop a consciousness at OWS that recognizes the economic crisis’s disproportionate effects on people of color and their communities.

My WGS classes and professors provided frameworks and theory that encouraged critical thinking, which helped me to “de-marginalize” my own work. At OWS I'm working to take the manifestations of economic inequality in traditionally marginalized populations and place those issues at the center of activism and organizing work. As a woman of color, I’m tasked with this “de-marginalization” daily, and it’s only through my time with WGS that I’m succeeding in making issues that affect women and people of color central – and not just an optional digression - to the fight for social justice.

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