In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.
How did you get involved in equity work?
I attended protests around Medford this past summer to see if I lived in a place that cared about injustice and abolishing it. When I saw the turn out, I noticed that people were wanting change, and I wanted to be a voice in the solution. I was happy to meet a group of like-minded individuals who wanted lasting positive change in a state that originally embraced racial exclusion.
What does equity mean to you?
Equity means understanding that the needs of people are different and that there is no correct "way of life." Equity means accomodating the cultural identities of everyone so that a high quality of life is achieved. Equity means recognizing how social issues affect ethnic groups differently and understanding that solutions will vary.
How long have you lived in Southern Oregon? Where else have you lived?
I came to Southern Oregon when I was 13 years old from Baltimore City, MD.
What is your lived experience with racism and oppression?
In Baltimore, I was a part of a program for exceptionally smart children called Gifted And Talented Education, or G.A.T.E for short. When I came to Oregon, I was bullied for my skin and hair so I would fight constantly. School administrators did nothing about the harassment and labeled me a danger to myself and others because I defended myself. As a Black woman, they projected the stereotypes they saw on TV and saw me as less than. I graduated from college for Medical Coding, and it is still assumed that I'm a "welfare queen" or that I don't pay taxes. I am constantly under the scrutiny of taking advantage of a system that was set up for me to fail regardless of what progress I make. They see the color of my skin, not my struggles and triumphs, nor the systemic issues that plague the Black community today.
What is one of your personal hobbies or passions?
I have a passion for spirituality and growth. I wanted to be an anthropologist because I loved the intricate design of humanity. I loved asking the big questions like "Who are we?" and analyzing what we have become. Recently, I have been studying a West African faith called Ifa, and it has brought me closer to my roots. I am also a proud mother of a young boy. I love my son and nothing is more important to me than securing a future that he can be proud of.