Northwest Florida Regional Organizer, ACLU of Florida
Life has certainly changed from the days of speedy mopeds, spicy curries, and the balmy offices of Art Relief International. My time in Thailand as the Executive Director of Cultural Canvas Thailand and Art Relief International has come to an end. While I can say that the transition between two very different worlds is not an easy one, it is something that I could not be more excited about.
Last week, I began my new job as Regional Organizer for the ACLU of Florida. With each passing day, my enthusiasm grows—a likely effect of the contagious excitement to preserve the rights and liberties of others that seems central to everyone working here. The roles that I will be playing our area continue to unfold as I delve into the diversity of projects in which the ACLU is involved.
Half of my time will be dedicated to developing, organizing, and implementing advocacy campaigns to advance and defend the rights of LGBT people in Northwest Florida. My first mission is to reduce discrimination in high schools, working with educators to prevent bullying and facilitate student-led Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). GSAs will be a fantastic way to make school a safer place for students.
In addition to my work with the LGBT rights, I will be working on other ACLU priority issues, including criminal justice reform, women’s rights, and drug policy reform. I am learning about Florida’s struggle with over-incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline—issues that I am eager to work to counteract.
I see the work that the ACLU is doing and it is important. I am grateful to be involved with such a thoughtful and passionate organization. While the sunny, bustling ACLU office in downtown Pensacola is a huge change from my life in Thailand, I can say one thing for certain: I feel at home.