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Meet Shane Murphy Goldsmith of Liberty Hill Foundation in Mid-Wilshire District/Mid-City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shane Murphy Goldsmith.

Shane, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Today, I am the CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation, the home of progressive Los Angeles. I am the Vice President of the L.A. Board of Police Commissioners, the most powerful police oversight commission in the nation. I serve as the co-chair on the Board of Directors of PATH, of one of California’s largest homeless services and housing providers. I have two beautiful sons, Jude and Oliver, and a wife, Monica, who supports me wholeheartedly.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of this, given where I come from.

I remember going to visit my baby brother at juvenile hall. Standing alone, a teenage orphan, staring up at the cold impenetrable walls of the jail. I felt so powerless. I wanted to rescue my brother. But I couldn’t. They had ensnared him into their soulless system and he is still not free, over 20 years later. He has been in and out of jail and homelessness ever since. He is okay now, with a brilliant and kind son, and a safe place to live. But he is haunted every day by that system that never really lets anyone go.

I remember putting on a hoodie, pants, and socks to go to bed, even in the summer, to protect me from the cockroaches that had overtaken our apartment when I was a kid.

I still feel the heartbreak every day of losing my parents too young because we did not have health insurance to cover their expensive medical care.

How did I get from there to here?

A lot of luck, privilege, generosity from others, and relentless hard work. I still often feel powerless in the face of injustice and feel afraid of some terrible fate that seems to be lurking around every corner. But I remind myself of all that I have survived, and all the gifts I have been given, and I press on. I also nourish myself with the stories of Liberty Hill grantee-partners that are fighting David and Goliath battles and winning, and I recommit myself every day to the struggle.

Has it been a smooth road?
The struggles of my life have made me who I am. With every struggle, I get stronger for the next one and my heart expands with empathy for the struggles of others.

Nelson Mandela said it best: “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

Please tell us about Liberty Hill Foundation.
Liberty Hill Foundation is L.A.’s largest social justice foundation. At Liberty Hill, we believe the people closest to the pain should be closest to the power. We focus on racial, economic, LGBTQ and environmental justice and support the grassroots organizations and activists on the frontlines fighting for change.

We have been around for more than 40 years working as a grantmaker and a changemaker, supporting grassroots community organizing and leadership development in Los Angeles. Our goal is to build power in communities most impacted by systemic oppression to achieve justice and equity.

The Foundation leverages the power of community organizers, donors, and a variety of other allies to advance social justice through strategic investment in grants, leadership training and campaigns.

At Liberty Hill Foundation, we call our supporters “donor activists” and we connect them to the work happening on the ground in a real way. Whether they are supporting our “Agenda for a Just Future” goals of ending youth incarceration as we know it and investing in youth development or making their voices heard on issues like ending toxic neighborhood oil drilling and fighting for a roof over every head to end the homelessness crisis, Liberty Hill is a place where donor activists come so they can support progressive Los Angeles over generations and stand with people facing oppression at the moments that matter.

If you had to start over, what would you have done differently? 
Every decision and every mistake I have ever made has brought me to where I am today. I don’t know who I would be if I had done things differently.

I try to focus on the choices I have now, finding the courage to change what I can and to lead with love.

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Images Courtesy of Liberty Hill Foundation

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