In Response to Trump: Organize. Infiltrate. Blog.
It was a chilly January day when my colleagues and I entered the Capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky armed with signage and talking points. The Kentucky State Police Officer posted at the entrance asked if we were there to take photos in the rotunda, a field trip that most Kentucky students embark on at some point during their lives. I smiled, shook my head, and politely explained that we were there to meet with the Chair of the House and Senate Budget Committees, the Chair of the House Education Committee, and the Secretary of State. The guard seemed skeptical, but after conferring with his partner, he eventually allowed us to pass through the metal detectors.
I don’t blame the officer for being surprised at our presence. After all, Kentucky is nearly 88% white, but our group was 75% of color. And while these officials meet with many folks every day, those folks typically don’t require an adult chaperone to drive them around. We were out of place, a feeling with which I am familiar.
I have lived much of my life in the South including Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, and Virginia. That, combined with my blackness and queerness often makes me feel like an outsider.
I’ve experienced a lot. I've been called an Oreo, black on the outside but white on the inside, and I've dealt with bullies who've spread hurtful, homophobic rumors about my sex life.
But I have also enjoyed privileged. Both of my parents hold bachelors and law degrees. My two brothers and I have always had a roof over our heads and food on the table. And when I applied to college, my parents employed a private counselor to help us navigate the process.
I know what marginalization feels like, but I also know all of the advantages that come with economic security. I know what it feels like to be invisible, but I also know how having the right connections can make all the difference in the world. These are the contradictions central to my identity. And it is this identity that sparks my interest in pushing political systems and power structures to err on the side of inclusion rather than exclusion.
I believe that government works best when every voice is accounted for, and every person has a seat at the table, especially those deemed "outsiders".
How can we support more folks of color to run for school board? How can we empower a working single mom to advocate more effectively on behalf of her child with a disability? How can we instill a sense of empathy among our leaders? And how can we level the playing field and ensure that the most marginalized in our community still have a voice?
These are the types of questions we were hoping to answer that cold January day. These are also the types of questions I hope to explore through my continued work, studies and commitment to service. No matter who the President of the United States is.
This blog will serve as a space to test and explore ideas, share stories, and hold myself and others accountable in pursuit of that goal.