We are proud to talk with Kimberly Ramos, Program Coordinator at The Institute for Anti-Racist Education. Kim joined our community as a Create Freedom Artivist Fellow in 2021 and is now lead organizer facilitator! Kimberly Ramos is an abolitionist, artist, and anthropologist based in Oxnard, California. She is currently an undergraduate student at California State University Channel Islands and will be majoring in Anthropology.
Q: Who are you? Who is your community and how do they love you?
A: I am a daughter, scholar, lover, creator, and a proud Latina. I find community with fellow abolitionists, anthropologists and other first-generation students like myself. These communities remind me what love is by allowing me to be myself wholeheartedly, reminding me to slow down and enjoy every moment, and by standing with me during my good moments and by bad.
Q: What are your freedom dreams?
A: I dream of a world where love is not something that is thought to be a weakness but is viewed and valued as a strength. I dream of a world where Black and Brown lives and dreams are valued in the same way White lives are. I dream of a world where women are not watered down and put into boxes but instead are celebrated for the multitudes that they hold within themselves. I dream of a safe world, one built on love and community rather than greed.
Q: What was your biggest learning as a fellow? How do you carry that with you today?
A: The fellowship was incredibly impactful for me, it came to me during a time in my life when I was incredibly lost. I had no idea what I wanted to do, what my purpose was, or where I fit in (your typical 20s stuff). It was peak pandemic and it was really difficult to find a sense of community anywhere. I learned a lot of lessons as a fellow but I think the most important thing for me was learning what abolition was and hearing abolitionist ways of thinking, especially when it came to community vs. individualism. Today, I think about how damaging individualism is and when I see myself falling back into those ways of thinking I remind myself how radical and transformative community is.
Q: What has been your biggest learning as you work to organize the fellowship?
A: The importance of asking for help. This goes back to what I said before about individualism but we are so often taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but during my time working to organize this fellowship I found that asking for help was powerful, leaning on my community for help only strengthened my relationships and reminded me how loved I am.
Q: How can people embrace artivism as they follow a range of career pathways?
A: I believe artivism can take many shapes and forms. A big part of art is the ability to be vulnerable, and in the same breath an important part of activism is to protect and fight for those that are vulnerable so I think art and activism naturally go together. That being said, I think no matter what field or what career path people take they should remember to maintain that vulnerability and fight for the ability for others to do the same.
Q: What’s a quote/piece of wisdom you heard during the Create Freedom Artivist Fellowship that sticks with you?
A: “Nobody can tell you about yourself” - Mimi Shelton
So many of us are often put into boxes for the comfort of others at the expense of our own identity, this quote reminded me of the power of self knowledge and of identity.