Darius Liddell and Jon Zaid originally enjoyed 34justice content as members of Ben Spielberg’s political email list. The three of them decided their joint passions for critical analysis of political and cultural issues could be better served by starting this blog.
Darius Liddell is a free spirit. He frequently follows his thoughts to their logical conclusions – even when they offend his own beliefs and convictions, as they are generally wont to do. He laughs at himself, even when he is crying inside. The most honest skepticism – the kind that cherishes courage, patience, and verve – helps to keep the mind nimble, brisk, and cheerful. Curiosity is the greater part of intelligence. He believes that the human being is a thousand times more excellent and beautiful than he allows himself to be. He enjoys subtlety, nuts, fruit, and the conversation(s) nobody wants to have but everyone knows is necessary. He begs you to be patient with him, because he dances near abysses far too often. He thinks the most profound question you can ask someone is “Do you actually believe what you are saying, and why?” In brief, he is an artist in love.
Ben Spielberg majored in Mathematical and Computational Sciences at Stanford, but political and ethical discussions are his biggest passion. His high school elected Dennis Kucinich as the Democratic nominee for President in a landslide in 2004 and he ran Marc Elrich‘s winning Democratic primary campaign for Montgomery County Executive in 2018, so he knows progressive candidates can win elections if they message effectively. His parents and grandparents instilled a strong passion for social justice in him from a young age and his sister Hannah is his moral role model.
Ben is currently the Manager of Strategic Projects for San José Unified School District (all views expressed on 34justice are his own), where he was formerly the Public Engagement Officer, a math instructional coach, and a middle school math and science teacher (he was a 2010 Teach For America corps member and served on the Executive Board of the San José Teachers Association from 2012 to 2014). In addition to running the 2018 Elrich primary campaign, he also spent three years researching and writing about economic and fiscal policy issues with Jared Bernstein at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC and, in high school and college, worked on LGBT rights for Equality Forum in Philadelphia.
Jon Zaid has many varied interests and would consider himself more well-read if he finished all the books he began. Often the guy at the bar that will initiate a conversation about religion and politics, he fancies himself as someone who knows just enough about a lot. As someone who has worked in numerous medical research laboratories in Philadelphia and Washington, DC he understands the value of sound logic, reflection, and the desire to know the unknown. He believes many (if not all) aspects of human nature are quantifiable, and that humans at the end of the day can use data and reasoning to make the world a better place for all.
Jon is a current medical resident living in Philadelphia. Before moving back east, he lived in Berkeley, CA since 2010, where he worked and volunteered at hospitals in some of the most economically depressed areas in the East Bay. He hopes to play a role on the ground level for community advocacy groups for homelessness and education. People often ask him where he lies on the political spectrum and he’ll usually reply snarkily, “I’m just a thinker.” He would be a much more boring person if he didn’t love playing devil’s advocate so much.