Skip to content
Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Profiles of MRNY
Type: Event

Meet Our Donors: Sally Kohn & Sarah Hansen

Sally Kohn is a political columnist, television commentator on CNN, and all-around activist. Sarah Hansen works in philanthropy advising foundations how to best support groups in the social and environmental justice movements.

What do you love about New York? Where do you like to go?

Sarah: We love being a part of our New York and Brooklyn community, going to different neighborhoods, trying different food. We are going to try to bring our daughter Willa to a different park in Brooklyn and Queens each weekend.

Sally: Immigration has been such a gift to New York City. New York feels like an anti-bubble — when you’re on the subway, going out to eat, at the park, you have the benefit of being surrounded by all of the fullness and richness and the wonderful difference-ness and sameness in New York. It’s unifying.

Why is the issue of immigration important to you?

Sally: Fundamentally, we believe America is not just a place but has always been a set of ideals and goals for individuals and the greater whole. When my mostly-Jewish great great grandparents came to the U.S. from Germany and Russia, they came because of those ideas of equality and opportunity for all, success through individual hard work, and that we look out for everyone. There’s no doubt my life has been made better because my ancestors were able to make that choice to come. It’s a tragedy if we now suddenly define that idea of America in a way that is radically more narrow and exclusionary.

Sarah: My grandfather came to Brooklyn from Norway when he was two year old, and my dad grew up in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge. I love the idea of my family having grown up in Brooklyn and now me being here as well, knowing where my grandfather came from. My mom was a ESL teacher when I grew up and most of her students were from Southeast Asia and Latin America. We have really close relationships with many of her students because she did a lot of activism around immigrant rights in our communities. I learned a lot from my mom and her example, her being involved with this issue. So it’s something I’ve always really cared about and been passionate about. She always went above and beyond for her students.

How did you first hear about MRNY?

Sally: Well we both have worked for years in the social justice and activism arena, and we both knew about the great work of MRNY independently. I had a chance to actually work with MRNY when I was at the Center for Community Change and got to know the organization more closely.

Sarah: I learned about MRNY when I was on the board on the North Star Fund and have always been a big fan of your work in general. Both Sally and I love and appreciate the local community organizing that you do and I’m just really glad that we’re able to be supportive of your ongoing systemic work.

Why did you decide to donate?

Sally: It’s very important for us to be active in a lot of different ways — with our time, with our energy and also with our money. We support Make the Road New York because it recognizes and honors the true vision and values of the America we know and love. Supporting MRNY financially feels like one very important thing we can do to help strengthen social justice, fairness, and equality, and make a better New York for everyone.

Please join Sally and Sarah (and Willa!)
in making a one-time donation or becoming a monthly sustainer today:

See who else donates to Make the Road New York:

Ana María

READ MORE: Ana María Bazán, Immigration Attorney

READ MORE: Lucas Cooke, Principal, Bushwick School for Social Justice

READ MORE: Jeff Cinco, Musician

READ MORE: Tamiko Beyer, Corporate Accountability International