I always knew I’d end up here

25 Nov

Cincinnati’s current class of Allies!

I have often been asked, “Why Public Allies? How did you get here?” I feel I can’t answer that questions without talking about my parents.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I became aware of the many injustices plaguing the world but I do remember feeling it from a very young age. I have many memories of myself as a young girl with my parents by my side, absorbing everything around me. I remember the three of us marching for immigrant/migrant rights in Washington, D.C., and seeing the Zapatistas go by, chanting for justice. (Later, a book by a major Zapatista figure would become a powerful emotional connection for me about social and political justice movements on a global scale.) Another time, I took a trip to view the AIDS memorial quilt when it was on display to memorialize the lives that had been lost to AIDS. And I will never forget the time my parents and I happened to be on vacation in Toronto during a Gay Pride parade. We walked amongst rainbow flags and glitter on our way to our hotel. I can remember my mom helping me decide on my 8th grade history project when I was struggling between researching the Black Panthers or Delores Huerta.

At this point I can’t tell if these are completely my own memories (sans the history project) or if I have pieced them together via stories my parents told me about my youth. Either way, these experiences have shaped my life. My parents let me view and experience the world without bias. They always answered my questions with complete honesty while at the same time reminding me that what they said was not infallible, thus encouraging me to find out the answers for myself.

This trait stuck with me throughout my life, especially in college. My biggest question revolved around academic vs. action. I was always searching for ways to turn the academic talk around social injustice into the actions I had seen others take part in. Because I could no longer merely talk and theorize, I dropped out. Unfortunately, after I dropped out I had no idea where to start. I became jaded and lost. This brings me to Public Allies.

Public Allies is the perfect balance between talking and acting. Through Public Allies I am finally finding ways to combine academic theory and real-life experience into work that will help make the lasting social changes I have always known were possible.

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3 Responses to “I always knew I’d end up here”

  1. Dara December 3, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    Did our parents take the same “How to Raise a Social Justice Activist” class?

  2. imdelgado December 5, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    “Public Allies is the perfect balance between talking and acting.” …Life really is all about balance!

  3. John J. Miller January 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Hope You never get tired of working tirelessly! Acknowledge every victory, however small, as each one is an important part of the Story. The AIDS Quilt itself is a victory–and yet, we still have a dearth of awareness and political opposition to spread preventative education, information, and (as always) funding.

    Keep It Up! And thanks for sharing this link so we can follow along.

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