Interview by Sonam Rikha
Name: Avanthika Panchapakesan
Age: 16 years old
City you were born in: Sacramento, California
City you currently reside in: Sacramento, California
CONNECTIVITY CONTRIBUTORS REACTIONS
Listening to Avanthika’s story was amazing! Avanthika talked about how she personally has “never faced any serious discrimination”, but has always seen it around her or on social media. I could personally connect with this. I also come from immigrant parents, and although the people from my background or others get discriminated, it has never happened to me personally. It is an aspect about life that we should acknowledge as a privilege because there are so many individuals around us that face discrimination on a daily basis that they do not have the privilege of not having to deal with it. It is so important for us, those that do have a voice stand up for people that are being discriminated against. If you see discrmination, you must say something against it and not allow it. We are just as bad as those discriminating against others if we do not stand up against it when it is in front of us. Avanthika also talks about the injustices that womxn face, such as the pink tax. Before college I didn’t even know about this, but hearing Avanthika talk about it makes me want to educate others on this matter. I could do this by bringing it up with co-workers, family members or even friends. That way, more people are educated on the term and the ball starts rolling on letting others know how unfair the pink tax is on womxn.
- Lorena Flores
Listening to Avanthika’s story was inspiring. One of the things I learned from her story is the power of demonstrating empathy for those who are different from you. Even though she is someone who hasn’t directly faced discrimination, she still acknowledged and gave credibility to the many injustices she has experienced from a global perspective. I was further inspired by the fact that she has rooted her activism and passion in women’s rights in third world countries, which is something I’m also passionate about. Many womxn in third world countries and around the world are forced to look to the media for representation of female empowerment, but oftentimes the media does not adequately represent them.
During her interview I felt a deep connection to her work supporting womxn of color, queer womxn, and many other marginalized groups. It is imperative that those who do have a platform, like Avanthika, stand up for those who face discrimination, whether it is discrimination in systems of oppression or daily microaggressions. I was equally impressed by how active Avanthika is in her community. Her activism in such an intimate space moved me to continue to demonstrate my spirit of boldness, even in those spaces where I feel most vulnerable. Being a part of her story also caused me to reflect on the mediums in which we project our activism. While social media and rallying are great tools, the daily conversations we have with those around us are just as vital to this work.
I am walking away from this interview inspired to share my work around the injustices of discrimination and my mantra that when we see it, no matter who’s around or where we are, we must speak out against it. Remembering that, “those who passively accept evil are just as involved as those who perpetrate it.” Listening to Avanthika’s words helped me to remember that activism is more than what’s said while on the front line. It’s the way we speak when no one’s around and what's in our hearts when no one can hear.