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I know Diane Randall

The Hartford Courant

November 30, 2010

We’ve been in each other’s home. We know the names of one another’s children.

Randall is married to a colleague, Roger Catlin. I say all this because I write about homelessness. Randall’s name should have figured more prominently in my coverage, but I was always hampered by the ethic that as much as you can avoid it, you don’t write about friends.

But never mind: Hartford is about to say goodbye to a shero. Randall is leaving her role as executive director of Partnership for Strong Communities, a non-profit advocacy group, to become executive secretary (executive director) at Friends Committee on National Legislation, Washington’s oldest ecumenical lobby.

Under Randall’s leadership, the partnership has campaigned for 4,400 supportive housing units, and made affordable housing very much a topic of conversation among legislators.

Howard Rifkin, lately the deputy State Treasurer and a partnership board member, will take over while the organizaton seeks a new executive director, but it is a testament to Randall’s leadership that the partnership will be fine, though they’ll miss their old boss.

“You meet very few people who know the policy so completely, understand the politics so well and, at the same time, can actually feel the human impact,” said David Fink, partnership policy and communications director. “Wrap that up in a nice person with a nice smile, and you’ve got Diane.”

Randall’s new organization dovetails nicely with her Quaker beliefs. Randall, who was raised Lutheran, began attending Friends meetings 25 years ago when she moved to Connecticut. She was drawn to their emphasis on peaceful resolution. Her new organization draws its agenda from concerns raised at Quaker gatherings.

“They have a pretty rich tradition in working in civil rights and on a variety of issues that champion human rights, as well as peace and other justice issues,” said Randall. “Their decisions are not based on profit or expediency,” she said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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