Scholar Class – 2013
Ashley was born with cerebral palsy, and much of her youth involved adapting to her disability and dealing with bullying because of her disability. Later, after realizing she also identified as a lesbian and coming out to her accepting family, she had to once again face the feeling of being different from her peers. During high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, through her involvement in a program called Riot Youth, Ashley presented to school boards and to the Michigan House of Representatives on creating a statewide anti-bullying policy with enumeration so all students would be protected from bullying. She also facilitated workshops with hundreds of students in schools throughout Michigan on how to be allies to LGBTQ youth and how to prevent bullying. As a result of her volunteer and social justice work, Ashley was a finalist for Ann Arbor’s Youth Citizen of the Year.
Ashley is attending the University of Michigan where she is a chair on a branch of the Central Student Government, the LGBT Issues Commission, helping to solve LGBT issues on campus and creating an inclusive environment. Additionally, Ashley dedicates her time to Dance Marathon, raising money and awareness for children with disabilities, allowing them to receive therapies their families otherwise could not afford. Ashley plans to major in Social Theory and Practice and minor in Community Action and Social Change, and hopes to someday work for Equality Michigan to help make Michigan an accepting place for those who identify as LGBTQ and any other identity.