Jess Jude is coming on as a fellow after having interned with Wayside last summer, and is so excited to take on new projects, as well as continue where she left off after having gotten to know what Wayside is all about. She is a proudly (and loudly) black, queer, southern, magic, femme gentle diva, aspiring doula, and so many other things. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Jess has been organizing there and across the south for about two years. Right now she’s really interested in finding ways to facilitate and participate in deeper and genuine conversations and connections between queer people of color and the work we are doing and have been doing to support ourselves and our communities in the south. She’s dreaming of reproductive justice and tangible manifestations of that, black resiliency and POC solidarity, finding the perfect dark colored lip stain, and springtime at the river.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Maria Laughinghouse who didn?t have a middle name. But she found that she was very gifted in many ways. So she set out into the world to make a name for herself, honing and sharing her gifts along the way.? On this journey she saw others in need and sought to help them as best she could. She taught them. Maria became a tutor, mentor, and an AmeriCorps Education Team Member for the Latin American Youth Center. ?She cooked for them. Maria loved teaching life skills, preparing youth of all ages to be healthy, inspired, enlightened, and most important, happy. And she loved helping lost ones find their way. Maria knew the struggle of not knowing oneself, and being lost in the chaos of the world. She encouraged their uniqueness and individuality. It wasn?t until the voyage brought her to Faber, VA. To a house in the middle of nowhere, filled with exciting, radical people, a place called Wayside Center of Popular Education. Here, Maria learned of social justice, community building, and active activism. It was at Wayside, where she finally discovered who she was. Through aiding others and the teachings of Wayside, Maria learned more about herself and found her middle name, Amaryllis. She now lives happily ever after, learning more of social justice, being more active in her community, and dreams of creating a humanities based, Socratic taught, nonprofit school with a bodega and restaurant.
?Maria Padilla is a student at Durham tech community college. Currently lives in Alexandria, VA and is a member of the wayside advisory board. She is a former member of NCHEAT, and the Youth Organizing Institute. Maria was one of the first participants in Wayside’s Bring It! Youth Organizing Weekend, and had participated in the Interpreting for Social Justice Workshop as well.