K. Love | Women’s History Month |HERstory
A true servant leader, Kristin Shymoniak, born and raised in Aliquippa, PA embodies leadership and purpose while walking in her destiny to (as cliché as it may sound) make the world a better place.
There are so many women to highlight during Women’s History Month and we considered Kristen long before March. Uprising Experience has known Kris for over two or three years now and we’ve watched her manifest her greatness and share it with organizations and events throughout the DMV. She is connected to us through With Great Care, LLC (where she is behind the scenes making things happen), but before WGC she was already leaving her mark in the community.
This young woman is a powerful leader, educator, and a social justice advocate.
Kristin Shymoniak humbly allowed Uprising Experience in her home to get to know her a little more. At one point she laid back on the couch pillow with her head tilted back, relaxed, looking carefree and comfortable while we were talking.
Kris was in her safe space – in her element, almost with her guard down sharing her life story with us. Her responses were effortless, passionate, and filled with integrity and energy. We discovered where her heart to serve was developed and what she hopes to see and leave for generations that will follow her.
Take a listen to our in depth conversation (taken place in Northeast, DC), but first, below are a few Q & A we had prior to our recorded conversation.
Uprising: As a Millennial (or X Millennial) what are the positive advancements (for women in particular) do you see happening in our society?
Kris: “I see so many more women, especially black women, excelling in leadership roles. Women are taking over the political areas, activism, STEAM fields, and businesses. It makes me extremely happy to be a part of the Movement.”
Uprising: Why is advocacy/social justice so important to you?
Kris: “Advocacy for me is not being a voice for the voiceless but returning the voices back to those while they’ve been stolen from. So with being in the social justice movement, I am able to transfer power to those in our communities so that it catches like wildfire and ignites freedom, justice, and prosperity.”
Uprising: What woman in history has made an impact on your life? How & why?
Kris: “WOW! There are so many! I would have to say two (I am not following the directions but I am going to name two lol). Angela Davis and Shirley Chisholm. These women were the epitome of boldness, intelligence, and an unrelenting fight. These women used their classroom or podium as a platform to empower and transfer power to those who had lost hope. Even though they fought injustices tooth and nail, they never lost their dignity and grace. They ignited a fire that counties to burn to this day!”
Uprising: What role did your parents play in your passion for social justice?
Kris: “Everything! Since I can remember, I was surrounded by advocacy. My parents are community leaders and pastors that have a heart for the people. They instilled in me the spirit of service, a drive to fight injustices no matter the cost, and work tooth and nail to raise up those around me. My parents exemplified how one person can conquer 1,000 but with two, they can conquer 10,000! They love hard and fight harder. My parents always allowed me to speak my mind and join the fights that I deemed important and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
Uprising: How are you currently making history?
Kris: “I am making history with each intentional step I take! I am making history through leading one of the most impactful organizations in the country, Thursday Network of the national Urban League. While serving as the community service programs chair, I started a food pantry that has consistently fed over 10 families each month since its inception in August 2017. In addition to activism, I am an educator. I make history everyday in my classroom, teaching students that their voice, energy, and actions mean more than anything in this world. I teach my students that they are world changers regardless of their age and that their possibles are endless.”
Uprising: Why Thursday Network? How did you first hear about the organization and what is your current role in Thursday Network?
Kris: “As one who has lived a life of service, it was only right for me to join the Urban League movement! When I moved to DC in 2011, I was looking for a place to serve and I was introduced to Thursday Network. I attended their MLK Blanket and Toiletries Drive during MLK Day and was immediately invested! During this event, volunteers from all over the Greater Washington area joined forces to assemble care packages for those experiencing homelessness. It was beautiful and I joined the movement that week! I am currently the President of Thursday Network. I serve with over 200 young professionals, lead by 13 strong and devoted committee chairs and officers- that create the most innovative programming dedicated to community empowerment, civic engagement, youth development, economic freedom, and enhancing the health of our communities.”
Uprising: For the next generation, what advice would you give them?
Kris: “I would tell the next generation to live and move unapologetically with a vision to change the world, be everlasting, be contagious, and conquer. I would tell them to always remember that they are Kings and Queens and that no voice is more powerful than their own and the only way to make a change is to act!”
To listen to the full interview, click here.
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