Japanese parents make a wish for their children and embed it in the characters of their child’s name. When I was born, my parents chose the characters “mi”, which means “people,” and “ho”, which means “rice,” the staple food of Japan. In so doing, they wished that I would become a leader of the ‘people’ who would promote democratic society, where all voices are equally heard. My parents also valued rice fields as symbols of Japanese culture and understood the role rice fields played in preserving water and providing animal habitat. By giving me this name, my parents hoped that I would also become a protector of Japan’s unique ecological and cultural heritage. In addition, my birthdate is the day that US Congress officially recognized as Women’s Equality Day. The older I get, the deeper I connect to the meaning of my name and my birthdate, which calls me to create a vision for myself, my community, and the world.
My vision for my life is to cultivate inner-peace, and be kind, loving, and compassionate to myself, others, and the environment. I hope to share these values with my community and beyond. This vision led me to become an environmental and outdoor educator where I could connect my diverse students with the natural world and inspire them to take responsible actions to sustain our planet. Through teaching, I discovered the need for increased awareness of multi-cultural role models in environmental fields, particularly women of color, to make them more inclusive for all people. This passion became the foundation of my project: “If She Can Do It, You Can Too: Empowering Women Through Outdoor Role Models.” I am using my project as a medium to help people see the world through a different lens and become allies in an effort to create environmental career and educational opportunities for people from all walks of life. I hope my project would inspire people to overcome any challenges in order to reach their dreams.
I am already taking steps to achieve this vision in my personal life, in my community, and with my project. I take care of my mind, body and spirit by meditating and surfing regularly, and surrounding myself with diverse friends. In my teaching community, I take leadership roles by developing multi-cultural environmental education curricula and facilitating diversity trainings for co-workers. With my project, I have collected inspirational stories from over 70 women from 7 countries around the world. To share these stories, I developed my website as well as a Facebook page and YouTube channel. Most recently, I have been documenting voices of Native American women activists in America’s public land. I created a blog to share my learning, raise awareness of American Indians’ rights, and call for actions that need immediate support from all people. I also give presentations at organizations, companies and schools, sharing these stories as a way to inspire people to take actions to create a more equal and just world together.
To better reach people outside of my community, I have several goals that being a Voices of Our Future Correspondent can help me achieve to turn my vision into reality. First, I want to create a network of women from around the world who can benefit from my project. By using Web 2.0, I can promote my project, continuing to write and connect with other women at a more personal level. Second, I can look for opportunities for additional funding and speaking engagements. Third, I hope to find partners who would collaborate with me to produce a documentary on the issues that my project focuses on. Finally and most importantly, I want to learn how to write as a citizen journalist so that I can publish articles in magazines such as World Pulse and ultimately write a book.
In an effort to live my life that honors my name and birthdate, I am seeking to continue on this path toward empowering women through outdoor role models. Becoming a Voices of Our Future Correspondent is the perfect next step on this path.Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision