What actions are you taking to promote and protect the health and rights of women and young people worldwide?
Up until I transferred schools, I led a social justice organization at Bennington College that educated people as to global inequality and general human rights issues. Additionally, the group held fundraisers for groups such as Oxfam International and lobbied representatives for a variety of causes and legislative issues– including funding for comprehensive sex education. I have long been considered the “go-to” woman for sex questions, educating quite a few of my friends and distributing safer sex materials.
Bennington College’s Field Work Term program sends students out into the world to work and gain new experiences. I have worked with Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive in Washington, DC as a client intake counselor (although my time with them was cut short due to a crippling injury), during which I learned much about sex workers’ rights, safer sex, and racial and economic inequality. I have also, constantly, been a member of gay rights groups, participating in demonstrations and events from Washington, DC to Vermont.
What is your vision of lasting change for yourself and for the world's young people?
That we access the part of us that wants the same thing as everyone else: a world in which the maximum number of people have security, dignity, and a little bit of pride; in which we don’t have to kick out others’ supports to get a leg up; in which we are free to express ourselves and who we are, and are accepting and open to the new perspectives that diversity provides.
From a less lofty perspective– the understanding that we are all desiring of the same thing, and a global community to work against injustice and toward a better future. Access to education and technology that allows idea-sharing and collaboration on a broad scale is the first step; universal primary education would cost but a tiny fragment of the United States’ yearly military spending.
If you could tell world leaders one thing, what would it be?
“The world isn’t a power struggle. There’s no war of good against evil. Your ideals are not diametrically opposed to those of every other country. You have a choice: stay at a standstill until the world changes, chaotically, without you– or work together to make sure it changes to benefit everyone.”