I have a federal misdemeanor arrest record for nonviolent civil disobedience from 2019, for fighting fascism – I caused a disruption at a town hall meeting for alt-right disgraced Congressman Matt Gaetz. (According the Southern Poverty Law Center, Congressman Matt Gaetz is an open white supremacist, nativist, anti-LGBT, anti-government United States representative.) However, I never went to the demonstration to get arrested; I went to the demonstration to bring about change, and I was willing to risk arrest to produce that desired change. The classic type of civil disobedience advocated by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., is one in which an unjust law is deliberately and openly violated. Most of the demands of activists do not lend themselves to the classic Gandhi/King style of civil disobedience. Nevertheless, the same basic principles apply: make it more costly for those in power to resist than to give in. I have to say that the whole experience was at turns beautiful, stressful, informative, scary, and revealing. As a gender queer Asian femme, engaging in civil disobedience, out of pure solidarity with other black and brown people, it is important to fight fascism. For me, it was a symbolic act that has turned into a necessity both as my part to contribute to the quest for social and political change, and as a channel for personal frustration and anger. One thing that needs to be made clear is the status that civil disobedience has for us as an arena of resistance: a large part of our motives in getting arrested is surely knowing the impact it makes on our community.
Along with the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, I filed a lawsuit (Amanda Kondrat’yev, et al v. the City of Pensacola) on behalf of several Pensacola, Florida residents to challenge a twenty-five foot-tall Christian cross in a public park. Prior to, for the past fifteen years the city had received requests from citizens to remove the cross. The white Christian cross dominated Bayview Park in Pensacola, where it was maintained by the city. The cross was also the site of numerous Easter sunrise services, frequently hosted by Christian churches. A plaque specifically referencing Easter sat at the base of a platform near the cross. Having a cross in a park that is supposed to be for everybody is obviously showing bias towards one religion over another. If it were a Satanic symbol or a Muslim symbol, Christians would be livid. My late grandfather and my father are both United States military veterans, and this is not what they fought for. The Pensacola cross violated the First Amendment. A three judge panel agreed, ruling to affirm an order to remove the cross.
I attended the University of West Florida and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. I also studied Education at The State University of New York at Buffalo Graduate School. My higher education experience forced me to think deeply about purpose. I also affirmed in me that I have the potential to impact the world.
I was born in Japan on a Naval base and then lived in Pensacola, Florida for most of my life. I have also lived in Canada and all over the United States, however, I currently reside in Houston, Texas with my husband, two dogs (Clem and Kyle), and non-binary child. I believe that good trouble is necessary, but when I am not busy in my activism work, I enjoy walking my dogs, fashion, reading to my child, going to the beach, and listening to music (especially boybands).
Candidate, United States Representative for Florida's First Congressional District in 2016 - I think marginalized members of our community should be inspired to run, participate, and I was one of them. We need different voices in government because it actually makes a difference in policy. I believe in having a strong democracy and a government that works and a government that's accountable to the community.
- Democratic Socialists of America
- Dream Defenders
- Stronger Together of Northwest Florida
- Healthcare Technology Management Association Texas
- Omicron Delta Kappa
- IT Gulf Coast
- Pensacola Young Professionals
- Association for Information Systems
- Secular Student Alliance
- People's Action Power
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NBC News: Florida woman who threw drink at GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz sentenced to 15 days - The woman was carrying a sign that said, “Gaetz - wipe the blood from your hands, A+ rating - NRA, save our kids vote Gaetz out in 2020," police said.