The Spring 2022 “Personal Journeys” issue of YES! Magazine.
Our Spring “Personal Journeys” issue was a different one for YES! It focused on people’s personal stories of healing and transformation, highlighting how our own individual journeys can be catalysts to change the world around us.
Those stories helped us remember that although we are each responsible for traversing our own path toward a better world, there is power in community and learning from each other’s experiences. We asked YES! readers online to share some of the most important lessons they’ve learned on their own social justice journeys—and, as expected, they did not disappoint!
“After running for office for the first time during a global pandemic, I realized that even though my campaign was over, the work of the rebellion continues.
“I ran for state representative in Massachusetts in 2020. I lost, but I expanded the electorate, increased voter turnout, raised the profile of working mothers in the state, and paved the way for future female candidates to step up and run in the next election cycle.
“I ran because nobody had challenged the male, Republican incumbent for over 20 years. I ran because I wanted to hold my elected officials accountable. I ran because there’s never been a female state representative for my district. That’s 100 years of no representation.
“I ran because people of color need our voices to be amplified.
“Now that my campaign is over, I am continuing to do the work by supporting Black, Indigenous, and people of color candidates throughout Massachusetts. I’m donating my time and money to candidates that need support navigating a political system that is rigged to keep working-class people out of the halls of power.
“We have inherited a system of laws that were written by White men. Until we have a majority of women in every state house in America, the work of the rebellion continues.”
—Michelle Mullet, North Reading, Massachusetts
“My journey of many years working in my community with restorative justice has been among the richest gifts of my life. This is what I have learned and come to know as true:
- People can change and everyone deserves the support to make those changes.
- No one should be judged on the worst thing they have ever done.
- Our growth and development in life are not a straight path.
- Treating each other with dignity and love is our primary responsibility as human beings.
- A sense of belonging is a powerful tool in healing.
- All people are good at their core.
- One’s willingness to be vulnerable and open benefits everyone.
- Addiction is a profoundly difficult burden to overcome.
- Past life experiences are present in all human interactions.
- No one has all the pieces to the puzzle, and to believe so is arrogant and potentially harmful.
- Everyone has a story that is worth hearing and honoring.
- Being open to change with every encounter is our only way forward.
- In the end, love is all that matters.”
—Christine Aquino, West Fairlee, Vermont
“Look for the best examples of serious progress and see what you can learn from them to carry the work forward.”
—Fran Korten (former YES! Executive Director), Bainbridge Island, Washington