By August 30, 2012 1 Comments

Letter from Kirin in Akron, OH

Hi my name is Kirin, I am a 23 year old ohio native. I love to dance and cook and I play rugby. I love my family and friends and I love to laugh until I cant breathe; most of all, I love this movement.

I got started doing this incredible work in the fall of 2008, when I was a 19 year old sophomore at Ohio University with a serious attitude problem. I was having one of those days in which everything goes wrong, so I decided that the only way to make the universe stop punishing me was to send out good vibes and hope for some in return. I was sitting in the student union with my heels on the table thinking good thoughts when I saw her. You know those “hippies” that wear every color and pattern? and you can hear them coming? yea, well her name was Emily Rood and she asked me if I was registered to vote. I, of course, lied to her and said “yes” in an effort to get her away from me.

Then she sat down and started the conversation that would change my life. She started talking to me about sustainability and empowerment; as someone who had never recycled before, I was entranced. Her passion and accessability was intoxicating. She talked about making real change on our campus and in our nation through building a movement. This movement would be pure people power; it would revaluate power structures between dirty money and politics. As a 19 year old sophomore, who felt like she was being choked by the beaurocratic nonsense of an administration that talked to her like a number and treated her like a cash cow; the idea of taking ownership over my individual power and demanding that my value was not measured by the size of my debt was incredible. More than that, the idea that this power was already inside of me and that I could use it to build a collective power was life altering.

The light the emanated from her was something I knew I had to be around. She invited me to join her at the Sierra Student coalition meeting happening down the street and i hungerly accepted. On the walk there, she offered me an internship with PowerVote 2008. I accepted before she even finished her sentence.

Over the next couple of months I led dorm storms, held phone banks and mastered class raps. I became addicted to the long nights and the dance parties. I activated new student leaders and learnt that the light in Emily was all around me. I found out that my power as a woman, as a person of color, and as a human was linked with all those around me and that our collective liberation is bound together.

Ohio University led (argueably) the most successful PowerVote campaigns that year; we built a movement. We watched as the first person of color stepped up to lead the nation. Now its four years later and we as young people are called upon to prove that it was not a fluke. We are called upon to prove that our voice counts too and that a leader can and should be held accountable to the promises they make. We are called upon to prove our power shines so brightly that we cannot be denied.

This fall, I am joining forces with hundreds of folks in NV, NM, CO, MT, IA, WI, OH, VA, FL, MA, NH, ND, PA, MO, HI to launch “all hands on deck” I will be traveling all across Ohio to various college campuses to meet young leaders, support their “get out the vote” efforts and build a network that will not end on Nov 6. Ohio is on the verge of being fracked apart, our college tuitions are sky rocketing and we are a swing state. We have an opportunity to build something real here; we have an opportunity to build something that can last and most of all we have an opportunity to celebrate a collective win.

I know what we are up against; a political system on its knees answering to people who are (as bill mckibben would say) “the richest people in the history of money.” I know that this will not be easy; but I am not afraid. I found my power and I am ready to light up this state and this election.

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1 Comment on "Letter from Kirin in Akron, OH"

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  1. Molly Stranahan says:

    Woo hoo, Kirin! What a great, inspiring story, and a sense of who you are and what set you afire. I’m happy to be ‘on deck’ with you!

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