I was born and raised in Issaquah, Washington, a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Seattle. The area embodied a conservative nature, and my childhood was void of recognition for the racism and classism that existed in our greater community. Growing up, I always felt particularly bothered by the fact these topics were never fully acknowledged. Adults often told me that it was not “polite” to discuss issues of inequality, and a mention of differences should never be brought to the forefront of conversation. Silence was often favored over discomfort.
After graduating high school, I began attending the University of Washington and immediately immersed myself in their Law, Societies, and Justice (LSJ) program. Here, important topics such as police brutality and human rights violations were no longer censored – instead, they underscored every class in the curriculum. I felt shame and embarrassment by the ignorance of my childhood, but later found myself empowered by confronting these issues head-on. I eagerly sought more in-depth knowledge, particularly about the systemic injustices that pervade our American legal system.
Through LSJ, I had several opportunities to work closely with people who had been impacted by incarceration. Again and again, their testimonials regarding the inhumanity of confinement solidified what I had learned: the legal system was failing, and quite simply, it always had been. I sought to remain in a space where I could be a part of eradicating harm.
All of these incredible learning experiences eventually led me to TeamChild, where I was drawn not only to their fierce advocacy for youth, but also for the desire to enact policy changes across the entire Washington State. I am honored to be working alongside such dedicated people and am privileged to be a part of this organization.