Tell us a bit about yourself
I graduated from Mississippi State University this past December and will start graduate school in August. I will begin a two-year program at Vanderbilt University working to earn my Master of Arts in Economic Development. Also, I am engaged to a wonderful man named Jeremy. We are tying the knot this December 15th, the same day Jeremy is supposed to graduate from Mississippi State with his bachelor’s degree. Clearly, I did not do a very good job of checking all the calendars before setting a date.
What inspired you to become a creative activist?
Several events throughout my life have inspired me, but the biggest thing is the death of my father from HIV/AIDS when I was only six years old. He contracted the virus through medication for his hemophilia. While I have this wonderful and loving step-dad, for years I harbored this anger toward God for taking my daddy away from me. Then I began to realize my anger was not the kind of legacy my father would have wanted left behind. I came to terms with the fact the God’s plan for our lives does not always make sense. God revealed to me that my father’s death was not in “vain” as I had seen it before. Instead, I saw how God used him in my community to minister to his patients (he was a doctor). Not only that, but I realized I wanted to create a legacy for him through the way I lived. HIV/AIDS was something that the church had stayed away from. I can still remember the fear my parents had when my father announced to his patients he was HIV positive. As I got older I learned about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and that millions of children had the same experience I did, losing a loving parent before their time. Something clicked within me. And after I read “The Hold in Our Gospel” by Richard Sterns, I discovered God expected more from me that sympathy for those hurting like I was. He expected action. He expected me to show the world His love.
What does being a creative activist mean to you?
I believe it means abandoning the notion that I am too small to make a difference. It is to go beyond merely wishing I could do something and instead take action. Whether it is tweeting my elected representatives about an issue, praying for the victims of a disaster, sponsoring a child, or making my friends aware of the issues today, being a creative activist means to be a doer of the word… not simply a hearer.
What is one way you have learned to do justice in your everyday life?
Honestly, getting in the Word is what teaches me to do justice. It reminds me that I serve a just God and, therefore, He expects me to be a lover of justice. I believe we can do justice simply by standing firmly on our personal beliefs, yet being open to listening to others.
What is your favorite project, resource, or act:ion that you’ve created or been involved in so far?
My favorite was learning about World’s AIDS Orphan Day. I firmly believe it is a day that is overlooked and an issue that is not well represented. As HIV/AIDS incidence rates go down in countries around the globe, the virus leaves behind a heavy scar on society. Millions of children are left orphaned and grandparents who should be receiving care are now required to raise a second generation. What I loved about the World AIDS Orphan Day 2012 action was that its goal was to bring to light an issue many do not consider and call our government to uphold their previous promises.
See more of Victoria’s activism here!