About a month ago, we announced that Blue Nation Review was sponsoring 100 scholarships to Netroots Nation. Today, we’d like to introduce the first round of winners and tell you a few of their inspiring stories.
“I came out at the age of 15 out of frustration with bullies and subsequently started one of the first gay-straight alliances in a high school in New Orleans. I have been an activist ever since that moment, which has allowed me to learn how to use my voice to advocate for those who are continually marginalized and belittled for who they are.” —Ashton Woods
“I created an online community for GLBTQ autistic adults and allies. For many, it’s the first safe space they have ever had to talk openly about their sexuality, their identity, to be able to ask questions. Three members told me that they were on the verge of suicide before the group started, now they are doing well, happy to be accepted at last, (and) mentoring others.” —Xander McDonald
“Growing up undocumented and coming from a working-class immigrant family informed me of the difficulties I would face in school, at the workplace and in life. That is why, at the age of 18, I helped co-found the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), a undocumented-youth led organization in Chicago.” —Reyna Wences
Each scholarship winner has a brave, compelling story that will be shared in the coming weeks at Blue Nation Review. We’re thrilled to welcome these new voices to Netroots Nation this summer and hear more about the work they are doing.
The full list of first round winners are:
Jonathan Beebe Giudice
Jocelyn “Joz” Wang
Mitzi Miranda Castro
Most of these 34 individuals are from Arizona, but we also have a few winners hailing from Georgia, Alabama and beyond. Half identify as LGBTQ and 68% are under the age of 35. This group also represents many communities of color:
Asian-Pacific Islander: 12%
Native American: 3%
We’ll be announcing the remaining winners in the coming weeks. But for now, let’s congratulate and welcome these folks to Netroots Nation 2015!