VOF Week 2: (Grow and the World Grows with You)
People talk about change with resounding inevitability as though to suggest there is nothing else to do but submit to this unavoidable reality. I beg to differ. While I see change as something that happens to all of us at indeterminable points in our lives, there are some things that remain the same no matter how many candles we blow out on our birthday cakes, how many degrees we earn, or how many trips we take around the world. What I am referring to – in the most basic terms – are our unwavering belief systems and the values we adhere to.
Allow me to elaborate on what I mean by taking you back over a decade. The year was 1996 and I was trying to make my way through junior high school (relatively) unscathed. Constantly being referred to as a “precocious child” did not sit so kindly with my peers, many of whom did not fully grasp my outlook on the world. I was the girl speaking out on human rights, declaring global injustices, and volunteering my time at women’s shelters…I was that girl. Unsurprisingly, when the yearbook went to publication and every grade seven had been assigned a “Most likely to become…” title, I had been labeled “a feminist activist”. One year and one yearbook later, I met a similar fate. “Jacqueline’s ‘Last Will and Testament’: A Protest Sign”. And so it began…
I was neither born into an “activist” family nor did I have a mother who embedded the concept of “girl power” into my head. I was not raised on feminist literature, and yet, from as far back as my memory serves, and even before I fully understood what it meant to be a women’s rights activist, that is exactly what I was.
Reliving memories of my childhood days, my activist roots run deep; which is why I attest that some things really do never change.
Years later, the story continues. While pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Media and Cultural Studies, I ventured to New York City and sunk my teeth into an internship with a renowned feminist publication, where I put my education and passion for writing to work.
Upon graduating, I chained myself to a desk and applied to any and every women-centric organization I could think of, from Canada to Cameroon. This diligence paid off and I was offered a contract with an international women’s advocacy and PR organization.
Every unique experience and encounter has shaped the person I am today. I envision global societies linked by good will and open minds rather than torn apart by conflicting interests and discordant voices. I have learned from but a small fragment of our world’s women; now that I have a taste, I long for more. For this reason, I am here. With you. Daily, I travel around the world learning from and engaging in your stories. The beauty of VOF is that I mustn’t go far to discover so much.