The Table

I found this photo quite fitting for WOC, I hope you do too!

Starting my third week as the new intern, I thought it might be time for me to introduce myself to you lovely WOC members and supporters.  My name is Jillian Lopez and I am not only new to WOC, but new to D.C.  While I have called a few different countries home for short periods of time, I will always be from Kansas City, Missouri.  I recently left my hometown in hopes of pursuing a career in the non-profit human rights field; talk about a wide range of interests.  Imagine my happiness at beginning this internship which is definitely a “foot in the non-profit door;” and on women’s issues, nonetheless!

I am a not-so-recent college graduate from Truman State University’s class of 2010.  While at Truman I double-majored in Global Development and Spanish.  The Spanish major was an extension of my primary education’s focus.  I was lucky enough to attend a Spanish immersion public school from kindergarten through eighth grade where all of my core teachers were native Spanish speakers from various Latin American countries.  Not only are they to be given credit for my Spanish language foundation, in essence making me what is known as a heritage language learner, but they also cultivated my love of cultures and cultural exchange.

The Global Development major was to nourish my curiosity and desire to learn about the developing world; social and political inequalities, differences between the growths of some countries and struggles of another, and of pursuits of respecting human rights in development.  My first experience abroad was in rural Nicaragua at the age of sixteen with an NGO called Amigos de las Américas.  For the first time in my life, I experienced what it was to live in a developing country.  Not only did that experience open up my world vision and global social consciousness, it fostered in me a desire to pursue a life of social justice.  Now I’m not saying I want my name to go down in the history books and become the next Mother Theresa or Leymah Gbowee.  No, I am not quite that audacious (yet, anyways).  I simply want to find a way to become a part of the many movements working daily to improve human rights and equality throughout our communities, our country and our globalized world.  That not-specific-enough-yet goal is what led me to pursue a major in Global Development and what has led me here to D.C. to pursue a job in the field of human rights.

Photo taken at Angel Falls, Venezuela. “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard.

 

While in college, I took advantage of opportunities to do a summer semester abroad in Costa Rica and a full semester abroad in Ireland.  One of my greatest passions in life is travel.  There is no greater joy for me than going to a new place and meeting its people and experiencing and sharing in their customs, traditions, celebrations and foods.  Each of my experiences abroad has been unique, eye-opening, enchanting and unforgettable.  My love of travel, new adventures and cultural exchange led me to apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.  From November of 2010 to August of 2011, I lived in Venezuela working as a teaching assistant at a university.  Those ten months are my longest experience abroad to date and easily some of the most memorable.  I easily learned more than I ever taught, but I think that is how most travel and exchanges are; for as much as you give, you realize at the end of it you receive so much more.

Due to my time abroad after graduation, it feels as though my post-graduate life in the States is only just beginning.  After deciding that my human rights career search would better take place in our nation’s capital than I Kansas City, I really feel as though I am at a fresh starting line.  My first step off of that starting line has brought me here to WOC.

Raised Catholic, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit my ignorance about the Women’s Ordination movement prior to my introduction to WOC.  That fact is even sadder when I recognize that the Danube Seven were ordained ten years ago, right before I started my freshman year at a Catholic high school.  As hard as I try to remember, I can’t recall even discussing women’s ordination briefly in class, which is odd considering the other “controversial” things we would often debate in class.  Better I learn about this late than never, right?

My only regret in not having learned about the movement sooner is that I would have loved to have talked about it with my late grandmother.  A truly devoted Mexican-American Catholic, my “memo” was always the example of devotion and piety.  That said, my favorite story about my memo is of how on her wedding day she shocked everyone in the church when she refused to say “obey” as part of her vows.  As it was told to me, she said, “I will not obey him.  This will be a relationship of equals.”  How amazing is that?! Not only was that a bold stance for a woman to take at the time, but coming from one raised within a Machista household that is incredible!  And, as it turns out, they did indeed have a beautiful marriage of loving equals.  Stories like that simply help affirm my belief that feminism runs in my blood.  I’m sure that my memo would not only have supported my involvement in the Women’s Ordination movement, but that she would have joined in support as well.

Now that my first step off of my new starting line has brought me here, I look forward to learning more and becoming a part of the change.  I am especially excited help WOC become bilingual with a future section on our webpage called “WOC en español.”

I will leave you with that exciting news, but it was a pleasure to introduce myself and I can’t wait to “talk” again. Feel free to email me at  [email protected].

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