I’m a thirty-one year old, third generation Mixed/Latin American, recording and performing artist, self-published author, sketch artist, political activist and community equity advocate. I moved to Hendersonville, NC in 2006 after living for a few months in Alaska. Before that point I spent most of my youth between Western North Carolina and Montana. The culture of my family has been rooted in deeply-rural community, a love of the outdoors and wildlife, the arts and uplifting others.
I graduated from East Henderson High School in 2008 and briefly attended Blue Ridge Community College during the 2008 recession. After putting up a fight, I had to drop out to survive. I pursued a career in music and worked service industry jobs, retail, sales, construction and landscaping jobs throughout my twenties. I was un-homed several times and often moved to follow work. Hendersonville was always growing in my heart as home. I felt community and support and love and respect and the closest thing to home I’d ever known.
In 2018, after a recent decision to move to Asheville, my life was placed on hold after my sister shared that she had been sexually abused by someone I had considered a dear friend since my moving to NC in 2006. My family navigated that trauma as best we could and my sister’s bravery, courage, resilience and strength has been an inspiration and constant motivator for me. Shortly after her decision to share this information with me, I had learned that a local painter and prominent member of the Asheville arts community, the now late Jonas Gerard, was a serial sexual abuser with decades of documented abuses. His work was endorsed by the city as a sculpture at the Chamber of Commerce, on Billboards, and prominently displayed at the Asheville Regional Airport.
I have often said that solidarity without risk or sacrifice is a fashion statement, however, I can say after years of navigating what pain I was experiencing, that the trauma my family endured was the fuel that motivated me to remove his paintings from the Airport, as well as publicly vandalize a painting in his studio in the Asheville River Arts District in early 2018.
That single decision became a catalyst for critical community conversations around abusers and survivors, as well as official endorsements of abusers, the value of art and more, but most importantly it took a tremendous toll on my personal life. I was in and out of the courts for more than a year and eventually served twenty-three days for my actions.
I am not proud of my actions, however, I am not ashamed of them either. I will not understate the value of many of the conversations that were had, as well as opportunity to learn from my mistakes and grow personally. The toll this action took on my personal life (family, friends, work and more…) was honestly often too great and I could never wish for them to endure it again.
Last summer I peacefully demonstrated in solidarity for Black Lives lost to police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic murder in Minneapolis. I was arrested under false pretenses and the manufactured charges against me were dropped.
I moved away from Asheville last summer after experiencing violent trauma and, after committing myself to healing and doing everything in my power to keep anything like that from happening to anyone, made the decision to pursue a career in Public Service.
I believe in you. I believe in celebrating our differences and embracing our cultures and shared experiences while paving a way for future generations to do the same. My music career is still just as important now as it always has been as an often-therapeutic outlet for expression and fellowship with others. My music is available on streaming services, and I regularly invite and encourage folks to experience it to form a deeper, truer understanding of who I am.
I am passionate in all that I do, and I embrace change and cherish any opportunity to celebrate successes and improvements from mistakes or missteps.
I understand that our lives are vibrant, and our experiences are our own. I will listen to you, wherever you are, in order to advocate for you where you cannot be.