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All Parts of the Whole: When Personal Transformation Becomes the Seed of Change

Documenting and telling stories is central to my life project, mostly because my story- and the stories of my community as a Puerto Rican, Panamanian, working class woman and mother in the United States- is rarely given a forum. I/we are often invisible in struggles for global justice, precisely because we live in the “eye of the storm”. My vision for my future is deeply rooted in my life’s center: my family. I want every branch of my family- from my nuclear family to my world community- to have access to healthy choices which nurture their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual development. I want their to be space for all of our stories.

To do this, we must live in a world built on love, hope, peace, and real justice. Neither my family nor our world can have access to those choices, in our present state of extreme violence, chaos, and infectious individualism. The world we need has not been built yet, though in the words of Arundhati Roy, “she is on her way.” And documenting her in gestation, watching her as she struggles to be born, is critical. History belongs to those who write it, and when I write or document it, I want it to convey the thing that connects us all at our very root: our common humanity and struggles to simply be well.

The institutional and structural violence in our society makes it such that humanity, dignity and compassion are often the things most often under attack. By claiming space for the many voices who challenge this paradigm, we are stealing our humanity back-- together. And this is the first layer of the world I envision for myself, my family, and my community: a world of oneness, where we stand for each other in word and deed. And we are all well.

To this end, I have spent all of my adult life and most of my youth, working first as an organizer, and then educator. Later, as a media and cultural producer, I worked to carry the same spirit of my labor, into different spaces that transcend geographic boundaries. As I evolve, I realize that I must continue to be each of these things in different moments, in order to be effective. My vision for myself, then, is to continue on this path of learning, teaching, sharing, building, and dreaming with other people who value peace, justice, equality, equity, love, and freedom(s), and work hard to achieve it. While I want to continue to work on the ground in my own community- there is a rich symbiosis of teaching and learning- that happen when you dedicate yourself to sharing experiences and resources across such broad channels. We change much more swiftly, and in unique, sometimes unexpected ways.

For this reason, I believe that VOF can help me hone an invaluable set of skills, which will help me carry my work further. I have always written and been passionate about producing arts in media. Unfortunately, I haven’t always given myself the space to do it. At times, the demands of my material life have made me feel that there simply was no space. But there is, and I feel a void because it has gone un-nurtured. VOF represents an opportunity for my personal and professional growth, in a community of peers dedicated to tackling this imbalance for ourselves and our communities. In that sense, VOF is a key to endless possibilities, for me and our World Pulse community.

VOF represents an opportunity to find my voice again and take on a new phase in my personal transformation, while I do my piece of the work to transform my community. I want to renew my commitment to something that I love- journalism and media production- by re-learning the craft through a social justice lens and committing myself to a process that takes into account my personal vision, needs, assets, and areas for growth, while allowing me to share my gifts with a global community of sisters (and brothers) in the struggle. I want to approach community change, from the inside out, by re-connecting my own parts and using that in the service of my vision.


CaitlinLO_Brien's picture

Beautiful writing and

Beautiful writing and beautiful vision!

dbunton's picture

Deep Roots


First of all, congratulations on the birth of your child. You must nearly be Superwoman to be a new mother and still find time to be a community mentor, and global activist. Kudos to you!

Reading your story, I felt as if I was reading parts of my own life story. Your desire for your nuclear and world family members to live a healthy life is something to be proud about. You seem to have a stong grip on life, to the point that your service to others shines through in your words. This exemplares a strong connection with home, roots, and commuity. Thanks for sharing your touching story.

Darren Bunton

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