The first thing out of my mouth is usually “I’m, sorry...”  It’s because I hate conflict, you see.  I’ve always played it safe when it comes to polarizing topics like politics and religion to skirt an argument. And I tend to only share with people after they’ve made the first move and exposed their deck of beliefs, responding when I feel that it’s safe to speak. This is how I’ve protected myself.  Even on social media, I try to limit myself to puppy videos and artistic endeavors. I never wanted to be labeled as a “raving” or “anti” anything.  I’ve always tried to see both sides.

But I don’t ever want to live in a place where I have to apologize for who I am.  I’m not sorry that I’m a Catholic, with a Mexican-American mother and an Anglo father. Or that I'm an artist that loves to work with her hands, and knows that artistic expression is the best way to communicate. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe that anyone should get to love whomever they want to love, and be able to share a marriage if they chose to. I believe that no matter who you pray to, you should get to do it freely. I know that we’re destroying our earth, and need to find solutions to take care of so many people without hurting the planet anymore. And I believe there is a way we can all have a place at the table (even puppies and kitties). I’m sure there is a lot more I’m missing, but this is me and I want to promote the acceptance of all people without apology.

The past year has seen an upswing of so many individuals showing their cards of hate. I know that I need to speak up for change.  I need to make it known that those who are feeling lost or misplaced will always have a place at my table, regardless of their beliefs.  As an artist, I’ve seen how design can spark new ideas, elicit deep emotion, and change minds and hearts.  Design has had the power to create new solutions from impossible challenges.  It brings people together and shows them new paths.  Design is unapologetic in its ability to show us how we are connected and how we can help those around us in need.

I pledge four years of service because I don’t want to have to say that I am sorry for not giving my talents, gifts and ideas to making this world a better place.