Two years ago I lived in a house where I received endless amounts of mail for an old tenant. Mostly, letters came from Amnesty International and Green Peace. One day, World Pulse Magazine showed up. It came at a time when I was actively reading poetry for fundraisers meant to educate and empower women. I received the magazine after I read at the first fundraiser. I wanted to share the most personal memories I had written about because the event was for women in safe houses re-building their lives. I was nervous to expose my mother’s addictions and loss of self, my father’s alcoholism and abuse, and my pain from experiencing hate crimes. When I looked out, I saw women crying as I read. Afterward, women from the program told me that because I shared such personal memories, they felt inspired to share their stories. It was my turn to cry, not only because what they had endured was violence and silence, but because they were so brave to expose themselves. I do not think it was my words which inspired them to read, but the yearning within them to be released from their own pain by refusing to remain silent.
I was inspired to apply for Voices of the Future because I want to continue to speak boldly about issues that are surrounded by silence. I write about things people are scared to discuss and I refuse to live in shadows. Voices of the Future will teach me to continuously listen, focus on global issues, and speak strongly where it is needed most.
My personal vision for the future is a world where every woman has the resources, choice, and chance to be educated and know herself. I have broken the cycles of addiction and violence in my family through education and I believe everyone deserves the same opportunity. I envision myself speaking globally and my audience of women growing larger every year. It has already grown from a few people at a local café, to fundraisers with hundreds of people, and now to World Pulse. I believe that saving girls and women is the only thing that will transform our world, and to do so education and empowerment must be top priorities. Voices of the Future fits into this by educating me further about women everywhere, what they have been through, are going through, and what they need right now to create positive changes that will break long and violent cycles of silence, and ultimately how I can help. Our voices blend and our stories are intertwined. We are here because we feel the pulse quickening, deepening. On March 5, Jensine Larsen replied to a poem I wrote by saying, “Another cello note soars to our sisters living in the shadows, wherever they are,” and that is the reason I return to World Pulse to share, to listen, to educate myself and others, to empower whoever I can whenever it is possible simply by speaking.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.