Phoenix Hummel, Haslett, MI

Published on June 26, 2023 in

I am a research attorney with the State of Michigan. I have always been interested in learning, growing and challenging myself as things are constantly changing, and I want to be the best advocate I can be. I learned about the 21-Day Equity Challenge when it launched in 2021, and I made sure that every year I would participate as fully as I could. I’m definitely not perfect but I get better every year. I consider myself a “sophomore” in my equity journey because there’s always more to learn. I could use more courage. I want to be better able to “put my brave on” whenever I have the opportunity to speak up. Taking the Challenge has helped with that.

I am a gender-nonconforming lesbian without teeth who enjoys being called “sir” but uses she/her pronouns. I know that some people will judge me by my looks and my sexual preference and that there is a cognitive disconnect between how I look and the pronouns I use. Social judgment and prejudice and its consequent conduct both disappoint and motivate me. I am white and able-bodied, so I have privilege and that privilege gives me opportunities and advantages not had by everyone. I have to own that. I want to be remembered as someone who always tried her hardest to be brave when the consequence of not doing so would be complicity with injustice. Privilege is a currency. My task is to spend my privilege wisely.

Some people (me included) will be confronted by the Challenge content and feel uncomfortable at times, but that discomfort is an important part of the journey. By examining and working through that discomfort and acknowledging and owning what is ours to acknowledge and own, we can deepen our understanding of inequity, become better allies and advocates, call out inequities when we see them, and be part of the solution to eliminating them.