Voices – 03/19/2021

Interview by Risha Chada

 Tell us about yourself! What kinds of things do you like to do, hobbies, fun facts, etc? 

 My name is Ashlyn, I’m a freshman and I love running, writing, and public speaking. Running is one of the things that I use to make me feel empowered and something to clear my mind especially during Covid. I enjoy writing novels and getting inspired by current world issues. I enjoy public speaking and using my voice and have been debating throughout middle school and the past year in high school. 

 What issues are you passionate about advocating for? Are there any organizations or clubs you’re a part of that work to help spread the messages that you’re advocating for? 

 I´m very passionate about bringing awareness to global and even local issues. In particular, human trafficking awareness. I’m part of a global organization called AFRJ which targets human trafficking. On the local level, I founded a club called MHS HTAC (Human Trafficking Awareness Club,) in which I lead discussions about human trafficking and spread awareness about it through guest speakers, planning events, and fundraisers. I also am a big advocate for breaking gender stereotypes on both sides of the spectrum, and bringing light to mental health in students.

 What do you hope to do through spreading the word and informing others about these topics? 

 I hope through advocating for these issues to make students more aware, and be able to feel more included in the social spectrum, comfortable and confident in themselves. 

 How does your identity and the issues you support play a role in your outlook on the world? 

 My worldview changed when I entered high school because I started talking to more people, educating myself about more global and local issues, and learning how to take action. I began to realize that the world is what you make of it, and it is up to you to take charge of your actions, and to seek to make a change, rather than wait for it to happen. 

 Why are these topics meaningful to you? 

 Human Trafficking is a big problem especially here in Ohio, which many people don´t know. I decided to start my club because many of my friends and peers didn’t know much about the topic, despite it being a factor and an overlying problem in our society. Gender stereotypes and mental health are important to me because I believe that everyone deserves a voice, and that no one should feel like they aren’t worthy or they have to fit into a certain role to be heard. 

 What would you like to see change or improve within the world we live in? That is, what do you want to change by advocating for the topics you’re speaking out on? 

 The change I would like to see is more awareness to issues like human trafficking, gender stereotypes, and mental health. These topics are all connected because they are things that do play a very high outlook into our lives and how we view ourselves, even if we don’t realize it. 

 If there’s one thing you want people to take away from reading this, what would it be? 

 One thing I would want people to take away from reading this would be that everyone deserves a voice and you should never feel unworthy or like you need to change yourself to fit in. If you are interested in learning more about Human Trafficking, and prevalent issues, join MHS HTAC´s Schoology group!