I just came across an old interview I did for my friend a couple years ago, its funny to see the parts of us that grow, and the rays of passion that remain.
WOMAN IN SOCIAL ACTION
Interview by Terra Lopez
CHILDHOOD-DESCRIBE YOUR CHILDHOOD
I grew up in white suburbia California. I am the middle child, the only girl in between two boys. During my childhood I was somewhat of a tomboy but a princess in my dad’s eyes. He taught me a lot about generosity and charity, and he empowered me as a female to not let my gender be something that held me back. He taught me that I am equally as powerful and capable as my brothers.
COMING OF AGE-WHAT ISSUES WERE IMPORTANT TO YOU AS A TEENAGER?
When I was a teenager I was a punk. I made fun of all the social activist, especially the vegans. My eyes were closed to a lot issues because I was so absorbed with fighting the system and drawing black flag symbols on my jansport. However, I will admit that I have always had a fascination with Africa and every time those feed-a-child-for-a-dollar-a-day commercials came on, my studded and patched jacket seemed to lose its hardness. Maybe passion is like that, like it starts as a little burning inside your chest and then grows to a fire, consuming your life.
ADULTHOOD-WHAT WOMEN’S ISSUES ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU NOW? WHY?
As an adult, I feel closer to woman than I ever have before, I feel like I am one now. I think one of the most important womens issues is education. From education, every other issue seems to stem. If women knew not only their value, but their potential, they would not allow themselves to be in abusive relationships, they would be informed on womens health and sex education, they would be aware of the glass ceiling and find ways to rise above the pay gap. If women were more educated, they would not become the victim of our patriarchial society, they would be the agents to change it. Empowering young women is especially close to my heart because the youth are vulnerable and idealistic, and given the right support, they truly can start changing sexist practices and stop them from being passed on from generation to generation.
HOW DID YOUR CHILDHOOD AFFECT YOUR POLITICAL ACTIONS NOW?
Growing up with two brothers and a very supportive father, I learned at an early age the power of influence. I saw my father provide for his family and contribute time and money to the community, I saw what it was like to give what you have been given. Being raised in that environment, I never had to worry about taking care of myself and therefore had the energy to spend on significant issues such as social justice and animal rights.
WHO HAS INFLUENCED YOU? SPECIFIC EVENTS/WOMEN?
My mother was an alcoholic, and that really put a spin on my view of females. I saw her as weak and pathetic, something that I never wanted to be. It wasn’t till I was 15 that a friends mother, Christe came into my life and really showed me what it was to be a woman. She took me to Planned Parenthood for the first time when I was 22 to get a papsmear. We went with her 12 year old daughter and I felt very supportive and at ease, it was an amazing bonding experience. My own mother never talked to me about womens health, my sexuality or my body so I always struggled with feeling comfortable in my body. But Christe celebrated being a female and really made me proud to be a woman.
I was also very inspired by Dorothy Day. She was a social activist in the 5o’s and started the Catholic Worker Movement. Her commitment to civil rights, womens rights and passion for community really resonated in my spirit. She was the manifestation of generosity and taught me a lot about sacrafice, community, pacifism and nonviolence.
WHAT ARE 2 ISSUES THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Animal Rights, Nonviolence, Poverty, Sustainability, Education, Women’s Health…oh sorry did you say 2? This is an interview right? So I can’t be wrong. 😉
HOW DID YOU COME TO IDENTIFY WITH THESE ISSUES?
I don’t remember how I became an animal rights activist because none of my friends are vegan, and maybe 2 are vegetarian. I honestly think that when I was 19 and went through a difficult break up, I started getting involved with social issues as a cure to my own heartache. I felt that if I focused on larger more meaningful problems, it would put my petty insecurities and boy troubles into perspective, who would have thought it would become a lifestyle that took me off the dating market all together!
Not only did I start getting involved with the animal rights movement, but also homeless issues and children’s advocacy issues in Africa.
WHY DID YOU FIND THESE ISSUES CRITICAL TO YOURSELF, COMMUNITY, COUNTY?
In the deepest fiber of my being I am a pacifist and a peacemaker. Cruelty and violence towards animals kindled that fire in my spirit and awoke the little activist in me. I realized that if I valued all beings as God’s creation, that I could not sit down to a table of slaughtered animals and say “grace” For me, most of my social activism comes from aligning my actions with my beliefs and really being true to myself and who I say I am, what I say I care about.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS TO CONTINUE YOUR SOCIAL ACTION?
I plan on getting a Masters in Public Policy and a BA in women’s studies. I am currently working with inner city youth at risk and serving at a local food bank. Hands on work is rewarding but draining and I would really like to be a part of changing the policies and structures that cause the issues we deal with on the streets and in our homes. Policy changing is just as important to grassroot efforts and they must work together and support each other for true social change to come forth.