I became politically active in the 8th grade. The Columbine shooting had 13 year old me asking “How could we let our kids down?” I felt horrified and angry mixed with compassion and loss. It compelled me to work in conflict resolution. In high school, I participated in student government and disciplinary council. Students were encouraged to work out their differences before taking it to staff. I was on a student team that helped with these negotiations. On yearbook, I learned everyone’s name in the school, seeking out loners to make friends.
I will never forget 2001. The fear of going to war pushed myself and fellow students into action. War was inevitable. I had to do something. I had to act. I had to vote, to get others to vote. I had to use my voice and amplify those around me.
My first year out of high school my grandparents offered to house me while I kept good grades at the community college near their home. It was the first time in my youth, I didn’t work. I had set up a babysitters club when I was ten which centered around watching kids while their parents were home or nearby. We, my sister and close friend, also choreographed dances and held a weekly raffle. As soon as I was allowed a work permit, I got a restaurant job and started contributing to the house with groceries.
I often think that living with my grandparents gave me the structure to excel but looking back I could have had higher grades if I had that time to study. My grandparents gave me the social etiquette to excel in our society. They taught me how to be responsible for others. How to grow my network with love and compassion, to see each person as an equal contributor to the group.I contribute that shared year of their lives to my success as an adult.
My early activism put me on a path to The Evergreen State College, a liberal arts school where I learned first hand about the courage of social movements. I fell in love with economics. The study of money and how it affects us. I wrote a policy briefing paper on the importance of the service industry in the lives of female earners. A subject that always fascinated me due to growing up in a single mother household. I still have a strong kinship for women-owned home businesses.
Every so often I have the opportunity to help a starting business. I have worked with in-home daycares, press houses, farming ventures. I started tutoring in high school and those skills transferred over to teaching book keeping/ record keeping, understanding codes. I have learned so I can teach others.
One day in particular I went door to door for an inhome daycare. I was notifying the neighbors about the impacts they might see (cars in the driveway) or hear (kids in the yard). It still makes me smile. I know in my heart I was working in the best interest of the family. I will work in the best interest of Washoe County families.
June 12th; Primary for Judd.
Photo credit copyright to Kurt Kuznicki 2018 at the Democratic Convention in Reno, NV.