In a whirlwind turn of events, the past year and a half of my life has been consumed with site-specific activism; I’m fighting multiple lawsuits in pursuit of justice, lobbying for legislative reform in the state of Michigan, and organizing a volunteer base on college campuses to rally around survivors of sexual violence. It is intensely personal, emotionally-draining, and perhaps the most worthwhile effort I’ve ever pursued. It’s that same drive that I expected to apply to my internship with the Whitmer campaign, in order to fortify and collaborate with policymakers about supporting victims in our state.
What I’ve found most surprising––which should come as no surprise––is the degree to which social justice causes are intertwined. While I started at ground zero at sexual violence, with legal reform and cultural change, I quickly learned that a multitude of issues branch off and gnarl up around it. And it makes sense; life isn’t exclusive or neat or clean-cut. Life is messy and no two things are mutually-exclusive.
Thus, in the pursuit of justice in one avenue, I have found myself fighting the same battle in a multitude of ways. For example, healthcare can be a tool for sexual assault advocacy via creation of protocol for protecting anonymity, training trauma-informed medical staff, and subsidizing (ideally, entirely eliminating) the cost of forensic examination kits. But we can’t stop there. We must build a program which better serves its community in a multitude of ways: being affordable, being accessible, being inclusive.
It’s the same story with environmental injustice, bigotry, and wealth disparity. If we holistically tackle these issues, even by starting with one lens, we can create a truly better future for everyone. I’m more excited by this opportunity to change Michigan’s course, through working for a candidate who understands diversity, inclusivity, and empathy, more than ever.