In Your Own Words with Grace Mae
Q: “What inspired you to begin working with the Northside Coalition in Jacksonville, and what specific changes do you hope to bring about in your community through your activism?
What strategies and initiatives do you believe are most effective in addressing the unique challenges faced by communities in Jacksonville, and how do you see yourself contributing to positive change in the area?”
A: “I wasn’t part of the Northside Coalition, but I worked directly alongside the founder and former president Ben Frazier. As a young queer woman of Pacific Islander descent, I am directly affected by some of the injustices that this community has encountered. Therefore, it is my duty as an active citizen to hold the people in power accountable. Personally, I have worked with organizations helping queer and trans people, working to remove all symbols of white supremacy. I have worked to fight against whitewashing history in schools, and I have worked on campaigns as big as governor races and as small as Soil and Water [Conservation] Board positions. I just want to make our community safe and equal for people from all walks of life.
I think being a small voice in a big crowd of people is really powerful. To elaborate on that, you can have five big voices fighting for equality, but if you have 500 small voices you can do so much more. I think what Jacksonville really needs is for the people to work together to make this a better place for us all. We need to embrace our differences and work as a community of people. Jacksonville is struggling right now with the cost of living — rent, food, utilities — and we are so busy trying to keep ourselves afloat that we are overlooking what the government is doing to our state. A lot of our direct issues come straight out of Tallahassee, and if we don’t vote for better leaders, then the entire state is screwed. We need people to take action and VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!”