*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.
Q and A with Christen, Baltimore City, Maryland
“I have dealt with so much, but I am so happy, because I have chosen to surround myself with positive, amazing people. Know that there is always good even with the bad.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: There are only a few small things that I am passionate about. One is education. Specifically, the education of students of low-socioeconomic households. Unfortunately, students of low-income households usually come from a minority background. Students who go to Title 1 schools are faced with disadvantages that come from their circumstances. It takes more funding to teach a student who attends a Title 1 school than it does a for a student who attends a more affluent school, but the funding is not there. For example, the school that I currently teach at feeds children breakfast and lunch for free, we offer free clinical services to aide in mental health, there is a weekend food pantry, and we wash some of our students’ clothes to name a few things. All this has to come out of the school and district funds. We have to meet the basic needs of these students as well as educate them. What ends up happening is the teachers have to raise money for their own supplies or buy a lot themselves. I hope to one day teach in a country that fairly funds ALL students.
On a lighter note, my other passion is family. I have a wonderful son and husband whom I love more than anything. They bring light to my life and happiness to my soul. I could talk about them for hours so I’m going to cut myself off here.
Q: What were your younger years like?
My past is a hard thing to talk about, but it gets easier as I learn to process it. My biological father was not and is not a part of my life due to choices that he made. My mother got married to her ex-husband when I was five years old, and that is when everything changed.
For the next ten years, I kept the secret of sexual assault from everyone, including my mother. When I was thirteen, the assault became more aggressive, and the violence increased. I again kept this a secret from every person. I was scared and ashamed. Finally, when I was 16, I decided enough was enough and told a good friend who would not let me stay in that situation. He literally saved my life. I have beautiful memories of my childhood involving my mother, sisters, cousins, etc, but what happened to me in my past definitely helped shaped how I live my life and who I am as a mother.
Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like other to know?
A: To quote Drake, “Know yourself, know your worth.” It is cheesy, but it is true. When you learn who you are and love yourself, life becomes beautiful.
Q: What would you like other to learn from your story?
A: I would hope they learn to speak up and speak out. Advocate for yourself and your beliefs. Know that there is always good even with the bad. I have dealt with so much, but I am so happy, because I have chosen to surround myself with positive, amazing people.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: Equality! It does not mean that women are better than men. It does not mean seizing “their power.” To me, it means shared power. It means to judge men and women fairly in the work field. It means do not treat me different because I am a woman. Instead, judge me by what I bring to the table. A stereotype that has always bothered me is the assumption that feminists are man-eating, overly aggressive females. We are not. Feminists are strong women and men who want to be treated as such.
Christen & My Lilianas would love to hear from you! Comment below!