Hi! I am Heather.
Since as long as I can remember, I’ve felt called to fight against injustice. As a preschooler, I have memories of speaking up when children were being teased for being different. That profound desire has followed me my entire life and caused me to always look for deeper meaning in the world around me.
I was raised in a predominately white community in New Jersey. But I didn’t “become” white until I went to college. It was there that I was exposed to the injustice that people of color endure on a daily basis. I co-founded the Student Coalition for Equal Justice in response to some racialized incidents on campus and that moment lit a fire for justice and a passion for liberation that has never gone out. I spent many years wondering why it felt like me and Tim Wise were the only white people who cared about racism (this is actually not true). As a licensed social worker I spent many more years trying to improve the lives of poor people of color, but not feeling effective and even having a detrimental impact on the people I intended to help.
I continued to read a lot and noticed the world around me, but I felt isolated and angry and ineffective in making any real changes. Finding the Undoing Racism Workshop (offered by the People’s Institute of Survival of Beyond) and joining in an accountable community of other anti-racist organizers has made all the difference in the work I do.
As the life partner to someone who identifies as Black and as mother to our child, I’m driven by the desire to have an inclusive and equitable community where my family is given access to all the same privileges that I have. It’s my obligation to use my privilege and my voice as a tool for the liberation of all people.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve quietly organized and made an impact in every facet of my life. It’s time for me to share what I have learned, so no one has to feel alone and angry as I did for so many years. I’m looking forward to connecting with you here. It would be my great honor to support you as we journey for justice and liberation.
Heather Batten is the founder of The Growing Edge. She has worked for nearly two decades in racial justice causes and for the last 15 years with families in and around the child welfare system. She is a clinical social worker and graduated from Rutgers University with a Master’s degree in Social Work. Heather attended undergrad at Bucknell University where she earned degrees in Biology and Religion and co-founded the Student Coalition for Equal Justice. Heather has been trained by the People’s Institute of Survival and Beyond in Undoing Racism. She is an active anti-racist organizer with the Anti-Racist Alliance of North Jersey. Heather is married to her partner in life, best friend, and rock – Phil. They have a toddler daughter who lights up their world.