Roselyn is a second generation Filipino American hailing from Norfolk, Virginia. With Norfolk being home to the world’s largest naval base, she had the privilege of growing up in a city with a prominent Filipino population. Because of Norfolk’s diverse public school system, Roselyn grew up in communities of color and with peers of similar socioeconomic status. When applying to colleges, Roselyn learned that she was a first-generation college student; and after arriving to William & Mary, she quickly realized her unique position at a predominantly white institution. As she yearned for spaces of solidarity and community, she joined the Filipino American Student Association (FASA) and double majored in Public Health and Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies. While taking APIA classes, Roselyn became familiar with systemic issues that impacted her life – colonialism, the military-industrial complex, racism, and sexism. Roselyn also researched the concept of liminality – living in margins or in the “in-between,” and co-produced a Culture Night show for FASA about the liminal spaces that Filipino Americans live in. Filipino Americans relate to the Asian American, Latinx, and the Pacific Islander communities…yet don’t fit completely into any of them.
Studying Public Health and APIA showed Roselyn the importance of community building and she became involved with community activism. She spent much of her college career creating and holding space in an institution that didn’t hold space for her communities, and at AALEAD, she hopes to cultivate a brave space for youth to explore, reconcile with, and embrace their own identities and communities.