Meet the 2013 Point Foundation Scholars
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 19 2013 6:00 AM ET
Emily Ptak-Pressman happily grew up in a warm and loving queer activist family in Baltimore and later in Madison, Wis., attending her first Pride march in Washington, D.C., at the age of two. Emily is committed to fighting oppression of all kinds. Raised by two lesbian mothers, Emily was spurred into activism after Wisconsinites, including some of her relatives, voted in 2005 to amend the state constitution to marginalize and discriminate against families like hers.
She is now also compelled to act by the oppression she has faced since coming out as queer, the struggles of her transgender and gender-nonconforming friends, and the racism and classism she witnesses at school and as reflected in national education and immigration policies. After starting a GSA in her middle school, Emily helped revitalize and make more inclusive her high school GSA. She organized Words Hurt and Human Rights Weeks, two annual school-wide events to fight bullying and support global human rights. She discovered the joy and power of sharing stories to create change through participating in Proud Theater, an LGBTQ youth theater group, and leading trainings on topics such as being an ally to transgender and gender non-conforming youth, LGBTQ rights, and how various identities intersect.
As an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College, Emily plans to study the way art can be used as a tool for social change. She is passionate about ensuring that all people can share their voices, get the support they need, and feel loved.
What Emily hopes her scholarship will help her accomplish:
After college, I plan on working for or starting a nonprofit that empowers LGBTQIA youth to organize around the issues that matter most to them. I hope that this scholarship will allow me to focus on my education and activism without being weighed down by student debt, while also giving me tools to help queer youth get the opportunities I’ve had.
What Emily is most excited about in being named a 2013 Point Scholar:
Response I’m most excited about becoming more connected with LGBTQIA activists from around the country. I know that working with my mentors and fellow Point Scholars will inspire and empower me and I can’t wait to collaborate with so many fabulous people!
Emily's words of advice to LGBT youth struggling with familial rejection, educational difficulties, or other hardships:
Remember that there are so many people in this world who love you and want you to live full, happy lives.