I imagine and generate our boldest possibilities, hopes, and dreams, and remind us of our direction.
Deepa Iyer, Solidarity Is and Building Movement Project
I have always had a deep passion for equity, equality, and justice. I envision a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve their biggest dreams and where everyone can live a happy life with sufficient resources. However, achieving this vision is much harder than I would like it to be. As a Visionary, it is difficult to simplify my vision because I consider simplifying a form of defeat. I do not believe that it is fair to cut out certain parts or play them down in order to make them more attainable because someone will always be left out. Instead, I have learned to work slowly and in parts in order to more realistically set out to make my vision a reality. My idealist mind tends to discourage me from time to time through failed projects and disappointing outcomes. However, my passion is restored simply by seeing the smiles of people during one of our community get-togethers. The families I meet through my advocacy remind me of my purpose and the importance of fighting for what is right to give them a better life. The love I have for others is what keeps me going, and it teaches me to be comfortable with the uncomfortable because at the end of the day, no matter how hard it may be, I will always feel at peace because I know I am doing the right thing and going in the right direction.
How has life changed for you in 2020? What have been some of the biggest challenges?
2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. Our communities have been devastated by COVID-19, and millions have bravely risked their lives to fight against the police brutality and structural racism that harms our communities. In the beginning, I was terrified of what was happening and felt like I was living in a horror movie. The unsettling events made me feel like my life would never go back to normal and I was stressed and worried about the impact both physically and financially that these events would have on my family and community. However, after having various conversations with my loved ones and the community organizations I work with, we realized how our previous "normal" enabled these issues to arise. These issues arose because of our flawed institutions and structures that did not protect or prepare us enough to deal with them. Our "normal" was never fair, just, or good enough. 2020 has taught me the importance of continuing to fight for what is right like our life depends on it, whether our life is in danger like it is now, or not. I learned that we must work together, care for each other, and be empathetic and willing to place ourselves in other people's shoes. We have to remember our morals and values that tell us that as humans we all have a responsibility to find peace and love in our hearts and be willing to lend a helping hand. 2020 has taught me that giving up is not an option. I learned to find my strength once again through the love I have for my community, and the fact that only together and with hard work will we be able to create a better world.
What are some of your college and career goals? Why are those goals important to you?
My career goals are to be a civil rights lawyer and lifelong activist for social justice. Growing up in a single-parent, low-income household allowed me to see first-hand the many inequalities and lack of resources in our communities. Not only did I learn about these inequalities from my own personal struggle, but I also learned about it from those in my community who shared similar circumstances. After becoming involved in school clubs and social justice groups to help change the structures that enabled these inequalities, I found my passion. I fell in love with the people I met - I learned to care for them like I care for my family. I saw in each face my single mother's reflection; I saw in each classmate my own struggle staring back at me. I learned to recognize pieces of myself in others. There is nothing I would rather do more than fight for and protect these people that carry parts of me. As a lawyer, not only will I be able to help my family financially and get rid of many of our struggles, but I will also be able to work on issues that I am passionate about and that will help my community have a better life.