Volunteer Feature: Michelle Kiang
I am a senior at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota studying Creative Writing and American Studies. I am interested in storytelling as a tool for social activism that strives towards justice and equity. After graduation, I hope to commit my energy, knowledge, and skills to undoing the silencing of marginalized voices. I believe that the fight for worker’s rights is not over - la lucha sigue - and that recognizing the lived experiences and continuous resistance of workers will create positive change in our communities, families, and within ourselves.
I interned in Fe y Justicia the summer of 2014 and worked closely with La Colmena, the domestic workers group within Fe y Justicia. I worked on developing outreach materials to connect with other non-profit organizations in Houston and with domestic workers in Houston who might be interested in joining La Colmena. I also did outreach in community centers and consulates to make Fe y Justicia’s services better-known in Houston. Part of developing these materials required that I interact closely with the women of La Colmena, and learn their personal stories. Many of the members wrote and published their stories in the anthology “¡No Estas Sola!”/”We Women, One Woman!”, which I also helped advertise and distribute this summer. Although I am unable to be actively involved with Fe y Justicia during the school year because I go to school in Minnesota, I will continue to lend my skills as needed when I am in Houston and continue to be committed and informed on worker’s rights wherever I am.
I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn about the lives of the incredible women of La Colmena, and to work alongside them as they made their voices heard to create positive change for domestic workers in Houston. Working with Fe y Justicia has taught me the value of voice and the power of community in creating social change locally and nationally. I have gained invaluable experience on how to navigate the non-profit world, and on how to engage in political and social activism, but the most invaluable lesson I’ve learned from working with Fe y Justicia, is how to establish and nourish a community through which activism is carried out. I am motivated to stay involved by the people I have met and the community into which I was welcomed.