My Grandma Martha was in grade school when women across the United States achieved the right to vote (in 1920).
My Mom was in her 30s, with three young kids, when women could apply for credit without needing a husband or a parent to co-sign the credit agreement (in 1974).
My oldest sister was in grade school when the first states passed laws stating that a husband cannot legally rape his wife (in the mid-70s).
I was in high school when marital rape was made illegal throughout the United States (in 1993).
My husband was born in Memphis days before Dr. King was assassinated there (in 1968).
My nephew Leo was born just days before Barack Obama was elected President (in 2008).
I was in college when Ellen Degeneres came out on national television (in 1997).
My nephew Noah was in college when marriage equality became the law of the land (in 2015).
For me, the personal has always been political.
What I mean by this is that my life has been—and continues to be—impacted by the culture around me. And I’m aware that I, like each and every one of us, have power to help change the culture around me.
The need for cultural change was always right in front of me. Growing up in Philly in the ‘80s, I vividly remember when the Philadelphia police firebombed a home in a middle-class black neighborhood; the resulting fire killed 11 people and burned down 65 homes. I remember the public shaming and blaming of LGBTQ people as our country first became aware of HIV and AIDS. I entered high school shortly after the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, as the school administration was struggling with how to be accessible for people with disabilities.
The need for cultural change was also deeply woven into the fabric of my being. I was sexually abused by someone I saw as a “family friend” when I was very young. He was an older, grandfatherly person who seemed safe and kind. I was overwhelmed and confused by what he did and what it meant. I carried the secrecy and shame of the abuse with me in silence until I was 20. By that time, I was struggling. And while I eventually found great support in the community, it took persistence, hope, and determination to find what I needed.
My life story is part of a larger narrative—the beliefs, practices, and structures that influence our culture (and that our culture influences). This larger cultural narrative is changing. Because people are changing it.
The culture we live in today is different than the one I grew up in.
It’s different than the one my parents and grandparents grew up in.
And it will be different than the one future generations grow up in.
What that future culture looks like is up to each of us.
I’m honored to be part of OAASIS, where we’re in the center of impacting what that culture becomes. I hope you’ll join us. I can’t wait to see—and live in—what we create next.
Join the Movement!
OAASIS is making an impact not only in the State of Oregon, but nationally! We are honored to collaborate with a growing national movement to end child sex abuse, and are doing our part here in Oregon. We need YOUR help!
If you’d like to join this movement, please provide us with your contact information so that we can keep you informed about what is happening to end child sex abuse in Oregon. We may occasionally call upon you to lend your voice and support when needed. Please stand with us to support survivors and protect children!