What inspired you to found Pitt Civics on campus and your Non-profit Not My Generation?
I was inspired by the power of the youth and collective action in various communities, and I wanted there to be an organization on campus that was actively engaged in civic duty. For Not My Generation, it was all the gun violence that was going on in and around the Pittsburgh community as well as with the Jewish community. I wanted to create a space for young people from different background who are committed to ideas on creating a better and safer space.
Who was your role model and/or inspiration?
I draw a lot of inspiration from a lot of people but my biggest are my fellow youth organizers, The board of directors for Not My Generation taught me to learn, grow, challenge ideas, and unlearn things. I also look up to the Black community and the people who have taught me that the issue of racism needs to be decolonized and there needs to be anti-racism in the world.
What does your future look like? What do you plan to do?
I recently received the Harry S. Truman award, which has given lots of opportunities. I eventually want to get my masters in Public Policy and Public Health with a focus on gun violence prevention.
What motivates you?
Definitely the idea that individuals have the power to make change and we have the power to do it everyday.
What do you do in your free time?
Not that I really have any free time, but when I do I like to read and love to cook food for my friends.
What is your favorite podcast at the moment?
Anthropocene reviewed by John Green.
What is the best piece of advice have you received that has helped you be successful?
Have a growth mindset, be willing to admit when you’re wrong and ask for help to be better.
How has your life and daily routines in regards to your activism work changed as a result of COVID-19?
We can’t really do fundraisers because people are in a tough economic place right now. It’s been hard not being able to keep the momentum, or physically be with people to organize the movements.
If you could go back in time, is there, if at all, anything you’d do differently?
I would go back to my early high school self and say “It’s okay to embrace the frustration you have and do something about them.” I didn’t realize fighting injustice could be something I did.
If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what would you ask?
Can our country be saved? After being in the condition it is in right now, is it possible for us to be redeemed?
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
I don’t have one off the top of my head, but it would show my ridiculous side of my personality since most people see the serious side of me.
In your opinion, who do you think is the most impressive person in the world right now, and why?
Malala because she exemplifies not only personal resilience, but also the power of a single story. She has taken everything in her life and overcome the most extreme situation and came out strong. If I ever think change is impossible, I read her book.
What advice do you have for fellow or younger peers?
Take every opportunity you have to learn from those who are different from you in some way. Be open to growth, and lean into discomfort. It’ll help you grow into a better organizer and a better human being.