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This week's spotlight: Ashley Draper!

Ashley Draper is an awesome local Sacramento activist, working to dismantle our racist criminal injustice system. At the Sacramento Change Coalition she works as part of a team that is determined to elect progressive, social-justice oriented Sheriffs and DAs for the County of Sacramento. We talked to her about the fight for social justice, and how she cares for herself while engaging in creating change.

What does social justice mean to you?

Social justice means a very real paradigm shift here in this country. Since its birth, America has created and peddled a social hierarchy where someone's worthiness is determined by their wallet and their skin color. Justice, true justice, flips this idea on its head. Social justice means that me and my family have just as much opportunity as any other to thrive and have an excellent quality of life. Social justice means that the poor and innocent are treated fairly while the rich and guilty pay for their crimes. Social justice means change and I'm so grateful that I get to work on meaningful change as part of the Sac Change Coalition.

Why are you involved in social justice?

I'm involved because I just can't sit back and do nothing. How often do we hear, I'm too busy, I don't watch the news, I don't like this, but I don't think I can change it? Well, unfortunately, that's right. If you don't get involved and use your voice, you won't change anything. I believe that many of the ills of this country are a byproduct of racism and bad design and with a little empathy and reimagination, we can redesign our communities to reflect the best of humanity.

My favorite quote is "be the change you want to see." I'm involved in social justice so that I can be an active participant in the very change I pray to see.

How do you self care to keep fighting for social justice?

I have to admit that self care is very challenging in a pandemic and with so much work to do, but it's very important. It's too easy to neglect ourselves, forget to have breakfast or eat lunch, maybe get to bed too late (I say as I'm responding to emails at 11:30pm) or spend an entire day inside, but we have to prioritize refreshing our minds, bodies and spirits. To this end, I try to exercise often, practice yoga and participate in church services. I even like taking walks while listening to audiobooks, it makes me feel like I'm feeding two birds with one scone! Every month, I take a trip to my esthetician and for 90 minutes where I focus on my breathing, lay still, and most importantly, avoid looking at a single device! I am very spiritual, so participating in church services is a big part of my spiritual self care. We are mind, body and soul, so whatever helps you to feel rejuvenated, prioritize that activity.

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