Avionna Fitzhugh, a Junior student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, is always leading the charge. From climate activism, to sexual and reproductive justice, Avionna has always shown not only concern, but active organizing power both inside and outside of the MICA community. For the past three years she has volunteered and helped build capacity at local nonprofits like FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture and Union Baptist Headstart, while at the same time expanding MOA, MICA’s own student organization that works around activism and social justice. Recently, Avionna has been working alongisde Youth Voices for Consent, a collective that is on the path to become a non-profit, a potential achievement that would be a game changer in the field of sexual abuse prevention in youth populations in the city of Baltimore.
I have collaborated with community organizations in multiple fields to help implement solutions to societal problems. Whether the challenge to address was food accessibility, sustainable practices, or most recently consent education, it was crucial in each scenario to listen closely to the needs of the people and respond with sincere action. Last march when everything transitioned to an online format, I was working with a group giving teens a space to discuss rape culture, an environment which normalizes and excuses sexual violence in the media and larger society. When considering how that might be transformed though inclusive and comprehensive sex education, I worked with youth leaders directly to develop a virtual workshop for elementary age children and parents to begin that conversation. Later on when our group decided to break away from its parent site, I created social media graphics for, helped organize, and contributed artwork to a virtual art market as a fundraiser, making over $1000 in sales and donations. These opportunities were made possible by listening closely to the voices of community members, and a dedicated effort from all parties involved.