Changemaker: Leona Wong & Amanda Padgett

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Fox Valley Women’s March. From left to right: Amanda Padgett (Senior), Anant Kaushika (Alum), Leona Wong (Senior).

Ciaran Cole and Nimrit Sodhi

Fox Valley Women’s March. From left to right: Amanda Padgett (Senior), Anant Kaushika (Alum), Leona Wong (Senior).

Changemaker: Leona Wong

Do you wish to speak on behalf of an organization or as an individual?

Period Equity Campaign

 

What clubs, extra-curricular, and events have you been involved in with being an activist over the last few years?

Secretary of UNICEF Club , AYEI Executive Board Member, Student Council, Redeeming School Club, Debate, and the Girl’s Tennis Team

 

Are you seeking a career or post-high school involvement in politics, civil service, or as an activist? 

My dream is to work in healthcare. As someone who wants to pursue that type of career and and fight for equal access to medical care for all people, I hope to fuse those passions together by joining the organizations presented to me as I study pre-med in college.

 

What is your motivation or the story behind your activism? Why did you join the movement(s) and club(s) that you did?

For people of our age, it’s hard to act on our beliefs and be taken seriously by society, being a 17-year-old girl in Appleton, Wisconsin. Seeing the way that social injustice has found a bigger spotlight on platforms like Instagram and other social media just these last four months, there has been an evident force behind our generation to take steps to be more accepting and give more perspectives a voice. Taking part in this movement has been a path for many to find their activism.

 

Have you done anything recently in regards to advocating for social justice or other causes? Like the Downtown BLM Appleton Protests or etc?

I’m part of the team at Community First Credit Union, and we support the Wisconsin Special Olympics. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we had to change plans for our fundraising, but I was still thankful to be a part of the set-up of our annual Polar Plunge where my co-workers took part and raised money to the important cause!

 

What long-term goals do you hope to accomplish as a part of the movement(s) you are involved in?

As we learn to work around Covid-19 and eventually get to back to school, our campaign hopes to put together baskets of free products and posters in North’s facilities to expand our outreach. It’s important to show young women not to be ashamed or scared of not having period products and being able to help them find resources to help them.

 

Is there a personal, misunderstood, or drowned out the message in that you want to the chance to share with the readers of the Noctiluca?

Most people assume when we talk about issues like not being able to afford hygiene products or toxic-shock syndrome, that we are referring to problems in third-world countries. But the sad reality is that these are struggles that countless women in our country and our own area face everyday. Especially in suburban regions like Appleton and the Fox Cities, there are so many people who need aid in securing period products and other basic necessities, and everyone needs to be aware of that!

 

Changemaker: Amanda Padgett

What defines activism or an activist to you regardless of the issue you are fighting for?

Fighting for something that you believe no matter the barrier in your way and always continuing to fight.

 

What areas of activism are you involved in?

Co-president of environmental club (with Lofton Putzer), Take One Leave One co-founder (with Sarah Sisto), and her podcast with Genrise Media advocating for criminal justice reform. 

 

What clubs, extra-curricular, and events have you been involved in with being an activist over the last few years?

Lofton and I wrote notes for lawmakers in Madison for climate action, but as a club, we’ve sparked conversations around the school, which were unfortunately cut short due to COVID. In addition to that, we’ve invited local climate advocates to speak about their professions so we can have more productive climate conversations.

 

Are you seeking a career or post-high school involvement in politics, civil service, or as an activist?

Yes! I hope to study Political Science and Philosophy in college and hopefully become a criminal justice attorney.

 

What is your motivation or the story behind your activism? Why did you join the movement(s) and club(s) that you did?

After growing up in Arizona, I was able to notice the effects of urbanization and climate change first-hand. From building on indigenous lands or extreme temperature fluctuations, the effects of climate change are detrimental. It’s so much more than the polar bear pictures you see online. Climate change  doesn’t mean that everyone has to go vegan or that nobody can have cars, but it’s that corporations have to be put in check. Corporations have put profit over people for too long. It’s truly terrifying to know that, especially now, we have so many leaders that don’t care enough about our future to recognize climate change. We need climate action and we need it now and I won’t stop fighting for it until we get it.

 

Have you done anything recently in regards to advocating for social justice or other causes? Like the Downtown BLM Appleton Protests or etc?

I volunteered for a food bank downtown through Appleton Community Catalyst.

 

In the short-term, what laws, practices or changes are you seeking in the community/world on the topic of your issue? Activists all want to create change, but what specifically do you want to be changed?

Green New Deal…. Now.

 

What long-term goals do you hope to accomplish as a part of the movement(s) you are involved in? 

By 2050 (if possible) I’d like to reduce carbon emissions to zero and continue and expand the preservation of national parks. Hopefully, we can get a leader that cares about climate change enough to carry these things out.

 

Is there a personal, misunderstood, or drowned out the message in that you want to the chance to share with the readers of the Noctiluca?

Just because you don’t feel the effects of climate change right now, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The smoke from the wildfires in California during the summer, which have made the air there unbreathable, have reached to almost every state. Earth is warming to unlivable temperatures that will affect us all, now or later. Our planet is dying, this isn’t a joke, or something to be ignored, we need action right now. It’s no longer an issue for the future, it’s about our present.

 

Are there any other messages or thoughts you want to leave the community with regards to activism and it’s importance in general?

 Don’t be afraid to speak out… and join HOPE Club 🙂