Pursuing Justice through Passion and Creativity

In the summer of 2013, I had the incredible fortune of being chosen as the first L.A. County Arts Commission Arts Internship Program intern at the California Alliance for Arts Education. As someone who had benefited deeply from the performing arts in high school, I was moved by the Alliance’s work to make sure every student got the opportunities that I did.  Little did I know it was the beginning of a long and treasured relationship with the Alliance.

It was that hot summer in a tiny, poorly lit office (the Alliance has since moved to a delightful bungalow with lots of natural light) which provided me with one of my first opportunities for professional growth. At the same time, I saw the courage and empathy with which our team faced even the most difficult personal challenges. I had little with which to compare the experience, but I could tell I had stumbled into a very special space.

One of my favorite assignments was preparing a highlights reel for the Student Voices Campaign. I am by no means a video editing expert; nonetheless, I did my best to translate and synthesize my peers’ passion. Their advocacy inspired me to write a blog post about why students are the best arts education advocates. By the end of the internship, I gained the vocabulary to explain why arts education advocacy is so essential.

A couple years later, my former supervisor asked me to help with the Student Voices Campaign communications effort and I said yes without hesitation. I created social media posts and conducted interviews with stakeholders to promote the Campaign. Slowly, the role evolved to encompass the Alliance’s social media presence beyond the Campaign as well. I loved every minute and stayed in the role for a total of five and a half years.

Through that time, I never lost sight of the importance of creativity and advocacy. After college, I went on to law school and met people who, just like the students advocating for arts education then and now, pursued justice through passion, planning and creativity. In the summer of 2019 these worlds came together. I was an intern at the ACLU SoCal Immigrants’ Rights Project, and ran into my Alliance colleagues at the ACLU office during a meeting on arts education equity. It was not so much a coincidence as it was just a matter of time.

I don’t know where my future as an attorney leads, but thanks to my Alliance family I have learned that advocacy needs creativity and creativity needs advocacy. Wherever I go, I will be taking both with me.