Guest Post: Ashara Slagger, Bangor Program Intern
My name is Ashara Slagger. I moved to Maine from Texas in 2011. I am currently 20, and will turn 21 in October. My original plans have since changed, but my goal of helping people has not. When starting college, I began as a political science, sociology double major, with aspirations of going to law school to be a civil rights/civil liberties lawyer. Starting my Junior year in college, I changed degree plans, dropping political science and sociology in favor of Social Work.
My switch to a Social Work major stems from my aspirations of being able to help people in a more direct manner. In middle school, my dream job was to be a social worker. This stemmed from an incident that had occurred during my childhood. While living in Connecticut as a child, I had a best friend named Diana. One day, Diana came up to me and handed me her stuffed bear. She was leaving, and I did not know why. It was not until later, when my mother explained to me that Diana was living in a neglectful household that I understood. Even then, as a child, I probably did not have full understanding of the situation, but it did instill in me a need to help others. To this day, I still have that Diana Bear.
When I was told that I would need to find a place to intern for my Social Work degree, one of my immediate thoughts was EqualityMaine. I had previously worked with EqualityMaine on the Marriage Equality campaign, and I absolutely loved my work. Going door-to-door and having deep and meaningful conversations with people on both spectrums was very rewarding. Even more rewarding, was seeing Marriage Equality passed in the 2012. So when I heard that I may have an opportunity to work with EqualityMaine again, I was more than happy to pursue that avenue.
Interning now with EqualityMaine will give me experience in the macro study of Social Work, working on community organizing. While I have not done this work in the past, I have full confidence that with the help of the staff at EqME that I will succeed. It is important to me to see politically active people, and the effect that activism has on the society around us. Without those who would stand up for themselves and others, much discrimination would continue to prevail. It is through organizations such as EqME that change occurs, and I am proud to be a part of that.
EqualityMaine matches with my values in so far as it functions as a grass-roots organization. As a small town girl in Texas, I was always overlooked. I wanted my voice to be heard. I built the young democrats at Barbers Hill High School, my senior year in high school. As you can probably glean, Texas is a rather conservative state. Having grown up around people of all types, I determined that I would found the Young Democrats. This was after having gone to a democratic convention and volunteering there myself.
Now even though I had about 2, maybe 3 members, having organized a collaborative party was rewarding in and of itself. I even had a well-meaning successor. Bringing together people under the umbrella of a worthy cause has always been very important to me. Being politically-minded, and active in the goals I wanted to achieve, has allowed me much growth as a human being. I wish to continue that growth throughout my life, and my time with EqualityMaine will allow me to do so at this point in my life.