Liana Shivers

Despite the challenges, growing up the education system was a pillar of empowerment and safety for Liana. So when she learned that an experience fundamental to who she was is denied to others, under the rage and disbelief, there was an urge to understand why. The pursuit of this question led to the realization of how little she knew about the spaces, stories, and people beyond the four walls of her high school. Feeling cheated, when Liana reached George Mason University she declared a major in Global Affairs, and devoured what she could about race, culture, and the minority stories that she had been denied through her education. Unique experiences shed light on how heard and unheard truths shape the structures and relationships of our society. They created in Liana a desire to encourage others to undergo the process of unlearning and relearning about the world. As someone who identifies as mixed, Liana’s identity has always been a battle between figuring out if she belonged and what her truth was. AALEAD is what she needed growing up, a space in which youth explore the truths that are systematically denied to them, develop and voice their own truths, and learn how to empower others to do the same. Through her work, Liana hopes to support the youth in becoming changemakers in their communities, and eventually the world.

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