Friday, October 13, 2017

Casting the Net Wider

You may not know Lina by name, but if you followed the #hocostudentwalkout at Mount Hebron High School, you know something about what she stands for. I first became aware of her during that time as students challenged us to #stopthesilencestartaconversation . I’ve been following her on Twitter since then and have found her to be refreshingly honest and insightful. She’s a straight-talker. You want the truth, unvarnished? That’s Lina.

Lina is now asking for help so that she can settle some debts and begin an education in the arts. You can read her story here. I have donated, and I encourage you to read her appeal and consider helping out. She’s an activist with the soul of an artist. Or maybe it’s the other way around. So is another product of Howard County Schools, Bree Newsome. Who knows what great things Lina’s future may hold?

The arts inspire, empower, transform. Lina is choosing this path for herself and is willing to pursue it even if her family can’t/won’t understand and support her. Maybe I indentify with Lina because my parents decided during my senior year that I was a bad prospect for college and that they wouldn’t give me any money to continue my education. I ended up moving out, working for two years, and receiving the incredible blessing of meeting an alum of Mount Holyoke Colkege who encouraged me to apply as an independent student.

Mounts Holyoke gave me an almost 100 per cent total scholarship. Without them, I would never have gone to college. Without the businesswoman who befriended me as I waited tables at Friendly’s, I wouldn’t have known that Mount Holyoke was even a possibility. I majored in music, by the way. I’ve been working in arts in one way or another since I graduated.

I know that most of us have been giving and giving and giving to support hurricane relief, but if you can spare even a little, Lina can use it as a launching pad to greater things. She wants to make a fresh start. She is trying to build a new life. So I’m casting the net wider to see if I can help.

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