For nearly three years, it has been a pleasure working in politics as an advocate for issues that I am passionate about: preventing child sexual abuse, regulating the modeling industry, financial transparency, and so forth. I got into politics because of my own desire to make a change; as someone who firsthand encountered child abuse, eating disorders, depression, and sexual harassment/rape in the workplace, I wanted to help others and make changes in the government – where I thought that the biggest mental health/sexual abuse reform could take place.
This past year, I became a Director and Mental Health Co-Chair for Los Angeles County at the League of Women Voters. My time with the League has been a positive one, where I have been given an amazing platform to encourage changes as a woman within the local Los Angeles government, and continue to advocate for issues beyond my normal desire of interest (ex: climate change, financial transparency, homelessness, etc). Together, we at the League even published a guide on permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.
When I started mingling in advocacy, it quickly led to working with many lawmakers across the country, and at first, I had an exciting time connecting with others who seemed to want to make changes, too. Unfortunately, I see the current political climate as negative with no light in sight, and shifting from one that focuses on issues to one where everyone is quick to look into other people’s lives instead of their own. Politics is no longer an arena where we work on the issues that really need to be developed (such as mental health and abuse). This discouraging environment of politics has affected my desire to re-enter pushing for bills in 2018, and has gradually wore on my own mental health.
With my new non-profit, The Artists League for Change, we are in the midst of filing our 501(c)3 status and our mission is to prevent mental health issues and abuse, through the creative arts. I knew going into forming this nonprofit that a percentage of the Artists League for Change would comprise advocacy, but I felt well enough to undertake that venture along with my co-founders Gary Greenberg and Dale Driscoll.
It is with a heavy heart but clear mind that I say today: due to the non-stop negativity in the media and in politics, I am stepping down from any advocacy work The Artists League for Change will undertake in 2018. I am turning over advocacy and lobbying over to Gary Greenberg and Dale Driscoll, two passionate New Yorkers who work nonstop to change issues in our government. As I head to our new office here in Los Angeles in the next couple of weeks, however, I will not be involving myself in any political matters; I only want to deal with the creative campaigns we will be undertaking from here on out. I started the Artists League for Change not for pure political reasons (although they made up a percentage), but to promote how the arts can be of tremendous therapy for those who have mental health and abuse issues. This is where I will keep my concentration.
I am also resigning from the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County Board, not because of anything the League has done, but again because of the high saturation of negativity within the government. I can’t live my life around politics 24/7, for my mental health and for the family that I want to have one day. We live in a society where news is spread faster than we can comprehend it, and I feel unable to shield myself from the negativity in the media and ultimately, my work.