Creating conversational communities that drive change

Lorna Torrado

Lorna Torrado

“the skin of the earth is seamless, the sea cannot be fenced,
el mar does not stop at borders.” 
 —Gloria Anzaldúa

I was born and raised surrounded by the sea in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I grew up nourished by family, friends, food, music, and stories. I was taught to love and to be proud of my island, and my culture. Growing up as a cisgender heterosexual woman within a patriarchal society, I leaned into feminism to build my personal identity. Even though I constantly battled against systemic sexism, I could always see myself reflected in strong and outspoken female figures. My strong identity and national pride were immediately shaken when I moved to the United States almost two decades ago. I was immediately boxed into categories I didn’t even know existed. I had to wrestle with this new painful reality that not only forced me to search for new ways of being, but it opened my eyes to the unspoken privileges I had benefited from throughout my life, as a middle-class, fair-skinned Puerto Rican.

SEED changed my life. I was desperately looking for a physical, emotional, and intellectual space where I could explore and question each one of my chosen and imposed identities. SEED provided me with the structure and tools I needed to go deeper into my own journey of self-discovery and to step into the power of my own stories. SEED keeps reminding me that there’s much to learn, and that listening is always the first step towards meaningful transformation. SEED has taught me that there are more people like me out there who work each day towards equity, social justice, and freedom for all. SEED feels like home.  

Thanks to SEED I am a Latina feminist, woman of color, and optimistic educator. I believe that diversity literacy is the first step towards social justice and liberation since it gives people the tools to name and recognize systems of oppression. Currently I work at the Girls’ School of Austin where I am the Diversity and Social-Emotional Learning Director & Alumnae Coordinator. I lead SEED seminars for parents, faculty and staff, and students at my school. I also use SEED to support young leaders of color in Austin so they can step into their power and work towards their own justice and that of others. As SEED national staff I am always looking forward to learning alongside other diversity leaders, and to making the journey one of passion, joy, love, and community!

— Cheryl Robinson, Supervisor, Office of Minority Achievement, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

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