I recently had the pleasure of chatting with one of our fantastic Pride Foundation 2011 scholars Jenny Lor. Jenny was a recipient of the Asian Pacific and Islander Queer Sisters Scholarship. One of the 50 different scholarships we offer.
Jenny is the proud daughter of refugee parents who immigrated here from Laos. Jenny is currently in her last year at Lane Community College with a major in Social Work and a Women and Gender Studies minor. She is also the current Student Body Vice President at Lane Community College. During her time in student government she is learning all about policy implantation and organizing for change. As if that weren’t enough, Jenny has also worked extensively with the Sexual Assualt Support Services. While there she worked specifically to engage change in the LGBTQ community around sexual violence. I told you she’s fantastic didn’t I?
In our conversation, I was truly impressed with Jenny’s commitment to social justice. She has a particular passion around working with queer youth of color and human rights issues in developing nations. This passion led her to work for a summer with a human rights non-governmental organization in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. She was able to use her Pride Foundation scholarship to fund her work with Tenaganita, which is Malay for Women of Strength. Jenny said the scholarship “helped greatly” and that she was “really happy that the scholarship could be applied to a study abroad program”. The work she did while in Malaysia was focused around female migrant workers who are exposed to harmful pesticides. While there she further delved into her passion for human rights and non discrimination around the Universal Standards of Human rights mandated by the United Nations.
As if that weren’t enough, Jenny also spent time working with Reboot The Root. While there she was able to work with men who are HIV positive and suffer from stigmatization and family abandonment. During her work there she was able to collaborate with members to facilitate workshops across the village and in the capital city, using art, drama and poetry to generate dialogue and discussion on social issues.
My final question for Jenny which I often ask folks was what symbol or object best represents her. For her, it’s a symbol found in Hmong needle work, which is often used to tell the stories of her people. The symbol is three circles that meet at a point and don’t close. To her this represents her multiple identities which are all equally important. Jenny is queer, woman, and Hmong.
Jenny is currently finishing her last year at Lane Community College and is planning on transferring to Portland State University. With the support of Pride Foundation’s Scholarship Program, Jenny is able to fulfill her dreams of a more conscience, socially just world, where all members of the community, across identities, are able to live in a safe and more inclusive community.
It’s not too late to complete your scholarship application. The online application deadline is January 31 at 5pm PST. Where will it take you and what will you do? I look forward to hearing more stories from our amazing scholars who are working for a better tomorrow.