Morgan Keenan has one of the smaller offices in the Nebula complex, but that’s fine by him, as much of his workday is spent in schools throughout the region. Working with the Missouri GSA Network, his role does involve some office work at Nebula, but it’s interspersed with large stretches of time working on direct activism in all corners of the STL community.
According to the MO GSA website, “At the core of what we do is make space for students to take leadership roles around issues that they care about and affect them. No matter if that is planning or attending Missouri’s Queer and Ally Student Day at the Statehouse or having someone from the Missouri GSA Network visit their GSA to train and work with them on things going on in their school the focus is always about how can we as a network empower the students to take on leadership in their own school’s club to create change for themselves.”
In his role, Keenan works “with 77 schools in the State of Missouri, who use the resources we provide. While we have some meetings here (at Nebula), we don’t use it for all of our programming. Most of that happens off-site. I do a lot of site visits to the schools.”
Keenan shares the space with Ka’Milla McMiller, 18, the only other staffer for MO GSA. She’s described on the MO GSA site as “a graduating senior at Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis, Missouri. She has been involved in social justice since she was 14. Ka’Milla is a co-founder of ‘The Sisterhood’ a group created for and by trans women of color to provide resources and create spaces for trans women of color to thrive and grow.”
That group meets twice-monthly at Nebula and Keenan says that “The Sisterhood is run for-and-by trans girls of color, under the age of 24. They meet here and do work to empower each other, building power to fight transphobia in the community.”
Kennan says the move to Nebula was good choice, after finding a home in other shared work environments over the years.
“For four years, we were located in the basement of the World Community Center, which is more like a co-op,” he says. “Whereas Nebula tries to up the game with professional, collabrorative workspaces. I think there’s a little bit of facilitation and curation that happens here; they’re curating something here that I like. Plus, it’s convenient to my own location. I wanted to live on Cherokee and all of my roommates and I moved into a house on Indiana, right across the street. When I was looking for a place for the office, I wanted a professional workspace. We’re really excited with the structure that Nebula offers.”
Recently, MO GSA also utilized the Big Room for an event called “For the Love of Tacos,” a fundraiser that really popped, with over 1,000 tacos made on-site in roughly three hours.
“I love that we had ‘For the Love’ here,” Morgan says. “That was so nice. It felt really good to have an event here that nice, for people in the community. And we go to show off this great space. It was really popular and we were able to make enough food for 300 people.”
Morgan says the use of the Big Room that day for a major community project shows that “Nebula values people’s work. This place is always re-inventing itself. Even the construction taking place now shows that time and effort that’s going into the space. I like that everything’s not perfect and finished and done. Constant movement is good.”