Cara Mia Villalobos
Kingian Activist and Scholar
Had anyone told me two years ago about the difference I would be making in the world today, I would not have believed them. At that time I was in the twenty-second year of an all-consuming and highly conservative corporate career in the travel industry, during which my life was less about critical thinking, and more about fulfilling duties within defined guidelines. Expectations set for me were only as high as my manager’s title entailed, and perhaps lower; and cultural expectations for how I should perform the management of people were narrow and blind.
In a soul sense, I had a feeling that I was meant to be doing more. And then, in 2015, I lost my job in a company reorganization. Knowing that I would need a degree to pursue a career at the level of my skills, I sought a school that would provide me with more than credentials. By engaging in self-learning and being committed to creating positive change in my career and life, I saw that I was capable of making a difference, and needed a school that was as committed to learning and change creation as I am. Antioch Seattle was the best fit.
Today, I am in the BA in Liberal Studies program working towards concentrations in two programs: Leadership and Sustainable Business, and Global and Social Justice. While leadership studies are what originally brought me to Antioch, I continually discover new passions. Through Antioch Seattle’s experiential learning classes about Civil Rights, I have become involved in Kingian nonviolence studies and training (based upon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s values and principles for creating reconciliation and strategies for nonviolent action), and will become a certified community trainer this August.
Violence comes in many forms societally, and becoming a trainer brings me one step closer to creating profound social change. Learning about water scarcity and sustainability in my Watershed Case Study class awakened my personal accountability for protecting a resource that is critical to the survival of life, something that I have taken for granted for far too long.
This summer, I have shared my final project research about B.C. Hydro’s Site C project beyond the classroom, and outside of the Antioch community which has led to public speaking and activism to halt the project, something I will continue to pursue. Faculty, instructors, and professors are perpetually encouraging and supportive when it comes to reaching out and trying something new. I was recently invited to do a class presentation about my mother’s experience in Indian Residential Schools and my own experience with intergenerational trauma, which is suffered broadly within the Indigenous community.
Following my presentation, I had a conversation about the topic with new students and left feeling a greater sense of validation and healing, and that there were more witnesses to tell my family’s story. As I am taking my time with my academic track, I have a lot of time left to construct my future career vision. I can clearly see, however, that my education at Antioch Seattle is preparing me for role of meaning, action, and will lead to a life well-lived.