What inspired you to be the Founder and Director of the Silliman Textbook Library Initiative?
I spoke with the President of the student body about this project, and since it’s been implemented in other universities, I knew it was doable here. I also had the help of Dr. Laurie Santos, who really listened to the students and their concerns. It really was a community effort more than an individual effort.
Who was your role model and/or inspiration?
Ashlee Marie Preston, an activist and media personality, who has highlighted the incredibly important role that Black trans women play in politics and activism. She did a lot of work for the Warren campaign, and I've learned a lot from following her work about using media for justice-oriented purposes.
What does your future look like? What do you plan to do?
It’s hard to make plans in quarantine right now, but I’m currently an Influencer Marketing Intern at Curology, and can see myself staying in the culture/media/marketing space and finding more and more ways to be involved politically both within and outside of the workplace. I also have a passion for music and performance, so I definitely want to continue with that in some way going forward.
What motivates you?
Listening to music is definitely an easy motivator. But more broadly, I’m really motivated by people who have overcome difficult experiences, either experiences that my privilege shields me from, or experiences that I am still overcoming myself.
What do you do in your free time?
I’m always listening to music and dancing. I’m a huge music junkie and I like to write music reviews so that takes up a large chunk of my free time. I’m trying to cook more food-- my favorite is mac and cheese.
What’s your favorite podcast at the moment?
The Happiness Lab by Laurie Santos
What is the best piece of advice have you received that has helped you be successful?
Don’t always do things that are safe, comfortable, and respectable. Be yourself despite what others might say. Take pride in being different and be willing to help others open their eyes to growth.
If you could go back in time, is there, if at all, anything you’d do differently?
I would tell myself to put more effort into my big, seemingly “unrealistic” dreams and focus less on pragmatic needs or concerns. I would tell myself to live more unapologetically, be more open to experiences, and not do things for the sole purpose of building my resume.
If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what would you ask?
What does liberation look like?
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
"How You Like That" by BLACKPINK
In your opinion, who do you think is the most impressive person in the world right now, and why?
Youth organizers and activists who are leading powerful movements for justice. Someone that comes to mind in particular is Kenidra R. Woods, a 19 y/o activist who has been active in Black Lives Matter organizing since she was 13, and runs an organization called the Cheetah movement to end stigma around mental health issues. It’s not easy to spend your youth doing such heroic work, so I’m really in awe of people like her.
What advice do you have for fellow or younger students?
My advice is to try to resist the social pressure to be cool, to make your interests and passions fit into a niche of what is popular or socially desirable. Social capital feels good, but it’s not worth throwing any aspect of yourself away. When you kind of stay in your lane and focus on your own art or creation or study or passion, you can really create something meaningful for yourself, which is what should matter more than anything. I’d also advise younger students to read more about the injustices that are taking place around them. Learn more about the histories of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC) in your country/state/city/etc, and become an advocate and ally for those communities. It will guide a lot of your life and work towards being a better, more thoughtful person as you grow up.