Tell us about yourself outside of NEAT volunteering! (e.g. work, family, hobbies)
I’m going into my junior year at Swarthmore College, just outside of Philadelphia, PA. I’m indigenous and actively work to incorporate my Aleautian tribal culture into all of my work, whether it be academica or activism. During the school year I work at the Swarthmore College Library as an interlibrary loan assistant which is one of my childhood dreams come true. In addition to wanting to become a professor, I’ve always wanted to be a librarian. Outside of work and school I really enjoy reading and watching movies in English and Japanese which is a language I’ve been learning for about 4 years. I also love music and have been playing the piano for 14 years.
What's your connection to LGBTQ+ justice work?
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I became involved in the fight for equality in high school by participating in the Queer Student Alliance (QSA). Among our many projects, we helped to bring gender neutral bathrooms to our school. I also became involved with the Greater Seattle Business Alliance (GSBA) my senior year of high school and have continued to be supported by them throughout my undergraduate career. It was through my relationship with the GSBA that I found out about the Power Up internship and NEAT and I’m so incredibly grateful that I’ve created a network of LGBTQ+ folks that have introduced me to new people and new places where I can volunteer and work for equality.
What is your volunteer role(s) at NEAT? What inspired you to get involved?
I’m honored to be a summer intern with NEAT through the amazing Power Up program hosted by Building Movement Project. For my internship application I specified that I would love to work at an organization that focused on LGBTQ+ rights advocacy and was overjoyed when I was matched with NEAT. I’ve been a proponent and advocate for the Equality Act for quite a while now so all my work at NEAT is enjoyable and fulfilling. As an intern at NEAT I’ve been able to get involved in projects for which I have no previous experience such as phone and text banks which have been amazing.
Share a memory from volunteering that sticks out in your mind.
One outstanding memory I have was during my first phone bank. An extremely nice person picked up the phone and we had a conversation about their past activism working for LGBTQ+ rights and how they were so happy people were still fighting for equality. The voicemail they left for their senator was incredibly touching and it solidified my resolve to keep fighting because what we are doing is really meaningful.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering with NEAT?
If LGBTQ+ equality and equality in general is something you care about, you should absolutely volunteer with NEAT. We have a great community of people and there is always something to do. Additionally the actions you can take working with NEAT create tangible change and inspire every person that you come into contact with to keep fighting for change. Additionally NEAT is a nationwide organization so if there is a local initiative that you want to get involved with that is an option. If there is nothing locally that is of interest to you, you can always participate in a nationwide campaign.