I am a progressive activist and advocate with over 20 years of experience. I am liberal, but not unquestionably so.
My political involvement began in high school. I was a teenage mother and attended a school for teen moms. At the time, programs such as my school were under seemingly constant attack by mostly republicans who thought having schools such as mine encouraged teen pregnancy. Luckily, Lawton Chiles was Florida governor during my high school years and he championed programs such as my school because he saw that education and health were key to ending social ills. I met with Chiles several times to discuss the needs of women and children, particularly those in poverty. He had a welcoming ear.
When Jeb Bush was running for Florida governor, I also met him. I personally spoke with him at my high school to gain his support for at-risk women and children.
I shook Hillary Clinton’s hand when she came to Tallahassee to discuss healthcare for low income children as First Lady.
In college, I studied hard and focused on ethics and political philosophy. It was at this time that I began my studies on Native American issues.
After I left graduate school, I struggled with my mental health, but also remained politically active. I worked a legislative session as a community organizer, I did business development for an environmental nonprofit, I wrote articles and op-eds for various media outlets and newspapers, I organized a rally for undocumented immigrants, I wrote the White House about the Dakota Access Pipeline and got a reply from President Obama. I did all of this over a decade while I struggled with symptoms of schizophrenia, OCD and depression.
I then took time to question my own views. I didn’t want to hold a view dogmatically. I took time to heal and reflect. I decided that living a more quiet life was more in line with my mental health goals. I also decided that I don’t have to do grandiose actions to change the world. I began with myself. As they say: Conquer yourself instead of the world. I committed myself to personal growth, recovery and honest questing. I realized I can change the world where I am: at the grocery store, in my own family, with my friends.