Community Activist | Passion-Experience-Leadership
Help this #PissedOffMom make a difference in our community

Coming from a strict, conservative religious background, I have always known that I was different. In fact, I used to call myself the “black sheep” of my family. From an early age, I recognized that the church’s teachings did not align with their actions and I railed against that hypocrisy every chance I got. The church taught all about Jesus and his love and acceptance for the poor, sick, and vulnerable. I sat in countless services and meetings, hearing messages of hope, freedom, and joy. And yet, when I was in need of that same empathy and compassion as a teenager, I was told that I was responsible for my own sexual abuse and deserved to be punished for getting pregnant out of wedlock. I was turned away, ex-communicated from my church and my family at the moment I needed them the most.

In the years that followed as a single mother, I lived in a homeless shelter and received assistance from social safety net programs like welfare, food stamps, and state health insurance. I saw first-hand the struggles and sacrifices of poor, young parents who would do anything to provide better lives for their children. I saw the coercion of so-called religious organizations trying to control women’s bodies and choices. I saw the barriers to education and empowerment that my Black sisters and brothers face, particularly the discrimination and disadvantage in fair housing and employment opportunities. I saw sexism and intimate partner violence, women stuck in abusive relationships without the means to leave, and children being used as pawns in their parents’ arguments. I saw the unfairness and cruelty in children and family services that are often weaponized against BIPOC. I saw the rampant disenfranchisement and voter suppression so common among marginalized communities.

Now I have five children of my own who are growing up too fast. They have voted with me in every election since their birth and in 2016, we began marching and protesting together. We have a president who would take away their bodily autonomy and strip vital rights and protections away from their LGBTQIA+ friends; who enables the police to murder their Black friends in the streets and deport their friends’ undocumented family members; who allows school shootings to occur because he cares more about his supporters’ “rights” than the lives of children; who has ignored a global pandemic to protect his approval rating and polling numbers; who uses military tactics against peaceful protesters; and who would trash their planet if it made him a buck. And they are furious. My kids recognize their privilege and understand how important it is to do their part by leveraging that privilege for change in their schools and communities. All politics is personal and we believe that meaningful and sustainable change must start at home, right in our own backyard.

To do my part, I am currently in graduate school pursuing a PhD in Leadership and Organizational Strategy as a way to develop a career of championing progressive values in the workplace, bridging my educational and professional background and experience with my passion for social justice and advocacy work. I also love to volunteer with children, from being a room parent and PTA board member in our schools to co-leading my daughters’ Girl Scout troop and being “momma bear” to all of my kids’ friends and friends’ kids. I help build community by doing whatever I can to help, from organizing fundraisers and clothing and food donation drives, to hosting meetings to write postcards to voters and to door canvass to mobilize voters in low turnout precincts, and networking with other local leaders and activists. I am always “on the go” for democracy and often with a cowbell or megaphone in hand!

Growing up, I was taught that it isn’t polite to discuss politics and that women and children should be seen and not heard. And I believe that’s part of how we got to this point of derision and division in our country. I will not force my children to be silent like I was growing up, to watch quietly as the world falls apart around them. They will not sit in privilege and complicity while their friends and neighbors get beaten down beside them. I am raising my children to be better and, together, we are committed to doing better. Now, we fight against hatred, inequality, ignorance, and injustice as a family.

I’ve learned to let go of the old ways of my past. I’ve given myself a lot of grace and forgiveness around how I was raised and my experiences with my own family and the church. Though I have lived through some profoundly painful times, I am not ashamed or regretful; in fact, my lived experience has enabled me to become who I am today, mindfully and confidently striving to make the world a better place for all. And I’ve finally learned to stop calling myself a black sheep. Now, I call myself an activist. 

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