Location: Columbus, OH, United States
- Issues Areas:
- Racial Justice
- Reproductive Rights, Health, and Justice
Campus: Ohio State University - Columbus, OH
Fellowship Class Year: 2011
Crystals Blueprint addressed the current attacks on reproductive rights facing young women from marginalized communities in Ohio. She envisioned a world where reproductive healthcare is safe and affordable and not used as a political bargaining chip. While at OSU Crystal planned to start a group that trained teenage girls from the surrounding community on the issues and skills necessary to actively advocate for reproductive health issues. She worked with local progressive organizations to build a coalition who would lend their resources and expertise to train area high school students.
Featured Fellow Spotlight
YP4: What do you stand for?
I stand for equality, democracy, freedom, and people.
YP4: How did you become involved with YP4?
I got an email from an advisor for a feminist group I was involved in that mentioned YP4 and I went to check the website. It sounded like something really amazing that I would benefit from in my life as an activist.
YP4: What is your Blueprint for Social Justice?
My Blueprint is a program that will teach young women, specifically teens, about reproductive justice and how to advocate for reproductive justice in their communities.
YP4: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I think getting into the YP4 program and being accepted into one of the best colleges in my state have been my greatest accomplishments so far. When I complete my Blueprint that will be my greatest accomplishment.
YP4: What motivates and inspires you?
All of the great student activists around me who do amazing work inspire me. The fact that they can be both students and accomplish incredible things inspires me to do my best as an activist.
YP4: What is a main goal that you want to accomplish?
I would really like to graduate college with honors and go to a great grad school so that I can be qualified to do work centering on reproductive justice and anti-racism.
YP4: What is your vision for the world?
I want to live in a world that truly embodies progressive values. I want a country where everyone has the ability to reach their full potential. I really want a world that is democratic and people oriented.
YP4: How do you feel you fit in to the Progressive Movement?
I’ve mainly been involved in the feminist community and the reproductive rights community on my campus. I am starting to get involved in anti-racist work and I’ve been involved with my schools Occupy movement. I feel like my life experience and my identity as a Nigerian American woman brings a new perspective to
YP4: What is a struggle that you’ve faced or are facing in your work?
Right now my university is dealing with a lot of hate crimes and racism on campus. We had a person come to a Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi vigil with a gun holster to intimidate activist, “Long Live Zimmerman” was spray painted on the Black cultural center on campus, and swastikas and the n-word were spray painted on an Obama mural in an area near students and a predominantly black neighborhood. This all happened within 48 hours. Previously an Islamaphobic ad that was funded by an extreme right-wing group was placed in our newspaper.
YP4: What advice do you have for others dealing with those struggles?
Activist, students, and faculty immediately held an impromptu meeting after the 2nd hate crime had occurred. Two actions and a list of 3 demands were created. The next day we had over 200 students and activist go to the board of trustees meeting to read our demands and make them address racism on campus. Our demands were 1) have hate crime alerts go out to students so they can be informed about racism on campus, 2) have diversity be a priority at Ohio State with a diverse body of students and faculty that is representative of the country’s population, and 3) inclusion not tolerance; we want a campus that is genuinely inclusive of all kinds of students. We also had a sit-in in our student union until our first demand was met. I would advise others dealing with this issue to mobilize and come up with a strategy to combat racism on their campus. Utilizing everyone’s past experience and documenting the actions everyone is involved in. Create committees so that the work is distributed.Try to make it something that everyone can be involved in to change the atmosphere of their campus.
YP4: How can other Fellows get involved or find more information about the work you’re doing?
Well there is a Tumblr blog called OSU Stand Your Ground that you can follow. Local media have reported on the actions and events we’ve been doing. Here are some stories: Residents Protest Racist Graffiti On Hope Mural http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2012/04/07/columbus-hope-mural-vandalism.html , Hate Crime Story Unfolds at OSU http://www.plunderbund.com/2012/04/06/hate-crime-story-unfolds-at-osu/ , and George Zimmerman Supporter Sprays “Long Live Zimmerman” On Wall At Ohio State University http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/05/george-zimmerman-supporter_n_1406071.html
YP4: What advice would you give to the 2012-2013 incoming class of Fellows?
I would tell them to be open minded throughout the process and to really enjoy it. Think about the kind of progress you want to make on your campus and really go for it.
YP4: If every time you entered a room your theme song played, what would it be and why?
I honestly have no idea. Maybe Jessie J’s “Mama Knows Best” just because I love that song.
YP4: Is there anything else that you want to say?
Just stay positive and that I’ve loved my experience with the YP4 community so far!