High school sophomore Beverly Xie can point out the exact moment when her passion for social justice was sparked. It happened in her seventh grade social studies class when her class was learning about social justice movements like the Civil Rights Movement. “I would get this tingly feeling in my body. I just wanted to do something to foster my passion and help people in the process,” said Xie.
She remembers how a lot of people in that class stayed silent when discussing injustices throughout U.S. history. She also pointed out that she may have had an advantage since she read a lot of U.S. history books for fun. “I was one of the few in the class that voiced my opinion and voice my knowledge, whereas other people just sat around. In that moment, I knew that I needed to do something about this passion,” said Xie.
Our Executive Director Dana Healy interviewed Xie on our Cities Speak podcast about her passion and what she is doing with it.
Moving to the U.S.
Xie moved from a subtropical region of China to ‘Minnesnowta’ as she called it in 2013. “It was definitely a big change,” she said. She eventually learned English and made friends who helped shape her into who she is today.
What is the Human Rights, Inclusion and Engagement Commission?
Today, she serves as the Youth Commissioner for Roseville’s Human Rights, Inclusion and Engagement Commission. The Human Rights, and Inclusion Engagement Commission helps the city promote equity and inclusiveness. She joined last year after she saw the opening on her school’s website and thought it would be a great opportunity for her.
Using your voice
At a past meeting as the commission was going over the minutes, Xie chimed in, because something was wrong with the minutes. They spelt her name incorrectly. “Your parents took the time to pick out a name for you, and you have to respect it. It’s a part of you. And yes, people spell it wrong. I wish they could spell it right. But when something goes wrong, you have to correct it,” said Xie. This moment shows just how important it is to stand up for yourself.
Xie said she has grown quite a bit in the year she’s been with the commission. For the first few meetings, she was nervous and shaking and anxiously flipping through her papers. Today, she’s learned that even though you are young and may not have a ton of experience, it’s still important to use your voice.
As she enters her next term on the commission, Xie wants to focus on taking action. She wants to talk to more students and other community members about their needs. “In my first term, it took me a long, long time to step out of my shell. This year, after extending my term, I think I’m ready to get my voice out there and make everybody know that the human rights commission is here,” she said.