I am the daughter of a Puerto Rican father and Korean mother who grew up an Army brat living all over the United States. The idea of home and the process of searching for a place to belong have been constant themes in my life. Our family moved around a lot, and I was always the new kid having to find my place in a new school. I was never really aware of the fact that I was different from all the other kids in my class until I was in the second grade. I learned the hard way that I didn’t look like everyone else when I began to experience racism and the hurtful ways people exclude others.
Five years later I would have my first experience of the United Methodist Church when I was invited to attend a youth group event. It was in this youth group that I immediately found a place to belong. Joining that church was like coming home for the first time. This community was the first space where I was encouraged to be myself, and given the opportunity and encouragement to learn and grow. I was welcomed and loved for being nothing more than me, a new concept for a kid who often had to do her best to fit in. In college I sought out community in the same fashion, finding my place at the United Methodist Campus Ministry. I found a similar environment where I was mentored and encouraged to ask questions, think critically, and most importantly wrestle with issues of identity and inclusion.
I have wrestled with this idea of home and community all of my life which has fostered my interest in the community building process. I went to seminary to learn how to nurture and create safe spaces where groups and individuals can learn, grow, dream, and thrive. While in seminary, I met a girl and we fell in love. The church that embraced me, nurtured me, invested in me, and was my home now barred me from their community because of who I loved and who I am. The reality of not being able to be my whole self not only was emotionally draining but also made my community building work more difficult. It is hard to create and nurture safe spaces when you don’t feel safe yourself. After two years of hiding, I left campus ministry and stopped seeking ordination in The United Methodist Church
Deciding between the work I felt was my calling and living a full and abundant life was a difficult decision. What I came to discover was that I didn’t have to give up my passion to live a full life. The decision to no longer live in the closet might have closed one door but it opened many others, one of which is the opportunity to serve as the Executive Director of Methodist Federation for Social Action. I am passionate about nurturing and creating safe, inclusive spaces and communities where all people are celebrated for their gifts and have access to equal and equitable opportunities.
I am so excited to be your new Executive Director and look forward to stirring up some holy trouble together. With the disappointing Supreme Court rulings, our nation's harmful immigration policies, and our denomination's discrimination of LGBTQIA+ persons, we need to continue to speak out against policies that harm our neighbors and communities.