This means everyone. Equal Rights for POC; Equal Rights for LGBTQA+; Equal Rights for People with Disabilities. Everyone. Everyone is equal.
My passion for equal rights comes from many people and situations in my life. My parents instilled in me that everyone is equal. Something I continue to strive to achieve in my everyday life.
My work in the political and activists realms has been around equality. Starting in high school I worked to organized a Gay/Straight Alliance. Even now, when I talk to former classmates, I hear about how they saw the signs I made and were inspired by the fact a group was starting up at my high school.
As I moved forward and into college I joined the LGBTQA+ group on campus. At my first college, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, I started to understand how people were discriminated against, and even within a marginalized group there is still discrimination towards others because of race, gender, or physical abilities.
While at Whitewater, I met one of my best friends. She was born with Cerebral Palsy, for her this means she needs to use a wheelchair to get around from place to place and needs help with certain daily tasks. She opened my eyes to the discrimination she goes through on a regular bases and the stereotypes that are placed upon her because she uses a wheelchair. There are many laws that need to change and adapt to a new generation of people with disabilities. She is a prime example of how the laws actually hinder her rather then help her, and I know she is not alone.
After Whitewater, I moved back to the Twin Cities to complete my degree. I started at Metropolitan State University (MetroState) in Saint Paul, MN. There I continued to be involved in the LGBTQA+ group on campus. I also ran and won a seat on the Student Senate. Unlike many Student Senates at Universities and College, MetroState is unque in the fact that is also helps with the financial obligations of the University and the President needs the Student Senates approval for any major changes. This gave me an opportunity to use this position to further equality on campus, by making sure the Senate held the University accountable for treating all students equally.
Along with serving on Student Senate at MetroState I also interned in the Women’s Studies department. As part of my internship I worked with OutFront MN, PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Family of Lesbians and Gays), and Family & Children Service. Together we created a group called Minnesota School OUTreach. This group created a yearly event for LGBTQA+ youth and help to create opportunities for LGBTQA+ youth to engage in the LGBTQA+ community.
After graduating from MetroState I continued my passion for equal rights by working in the DFL to elect DFL candidates. I worked on campaigns in 2008, 2010, & 2014.
Along with working on DFL campaigns I also worked on issue campaigns. The largest being Minnesotans United For All Families. I was hired on as an intern to the campaign in May of 2012, as one of the original staffers, I, along with others, were in charge of finding an office, contacted local officials and organizations, and building a coalition of partners. I left the campaign in November of 2012 not because I wasn’t passionate about the cause, I met my wife on the campaign trail, but because I felt I had given all the resources I had to offer to the campaign. I continued to volunteer for the campaign over the next two years until Marriage Equality was a reality.
Since then I have, in small ways, continued to show my support for equality for all. I speak out in my everyday life and have learned to listen to others. The only way we can grow and truly have equality is to be quiet and listen to those speaking out about being oppressed.
Candidate For MN House Seat 63B