Meet guest Spotlight Brianna Suslovic ! Published writer, recent Harvard graduate, an activist in the LGBTQIA+ and reproductive justice movements, and writer behind briannasuslovic.com
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Brianna Suslovic―I’m from Syracuse, New York. I’m a queer woman of color who was raised by a single mom, and I’m an aspiring social worker now!
You are involved in several activist projects. Tell us about your role in any reproductive justice movements.
I have been doing a lot of organizing in abortion access and de-stigmatization. Reproductive justice is this really amazing framework that I like to use when I’m organizing, because it takes a human rights approach to issues that I care about. It brings in analyses of race and class inequities to conversations about reproductive healthcare, agency, and freedom. My organizing work includes lobbying for comprehensive sex education, promoting access to doulas for pregnant and parenting people of all ages, promoting awareness about the harms of the Hyde Amendment (through the Repeal Hyde Art Project), and getting folks riled up about contraceptive access on Harvard’s campus!
You just graduated from Harvard College with a concentration in anthropology and women/gender/sexuality studies. You have written about your Harvard experience and how different it was compared to what one may see on the outside. What was your Harvard experience like for you in a nutshell?
I still can’t believe I’ve graduated! I’m still processing how I want to talk about Harvard―but in a nutshell, I’d say it was a challenging but really amazing experience. I found out so much about my own identity at Harvard, especially when I frequently came into contact with people from more privileged backgrounds. I learned to assert myself and start demanding that people on campus―students, professors, and administrators―do a better job of including marginalized students like myself. Harvard is a place of immense privilege, but learning how to pop the Harvard bubble is easily the best lesson I’m taking away with my undergrad degree.
You have just started your masters degree in social work at Smith College (CONGRATULATIONS). What do you hope to do with your social work degree?
I hope to become a clinical social worker who works with young people! I feel a really strong connection to individuals who aren’t children anymore, but aren’t yet adults (perhaps because I consider myself one of them). It would be amazing to work with young parents or LGBTQIA+ adolescents someday, helping them to get the mental/physical/emotional resources they need to live happy and healthy lives.
You have written for many outlets! Tell us about your writing projects.
Currently, I’m working on my blog, briannasuslovic.com. My goal this summer is to balance grad school and my writing. I wrote a thesis during my senior year at Harvard, and it was too busy to allow for free-writing. I have lots of ideas about what to blog about, so I’m excited to dive into my blog as a summer project!
What was article are you most proud of?
The article that I am most proud of is one that I wrote for The Harvard Crimson, asking for buildings at Harvard named after slave owners to be changed. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about history and memorials at Harvard, and this article gained a lot of traction.
We have had our share of internet bullies. When you encounter internet trolls, how do you deal though?
I wrote another article for The Harvard Crimson last semester, and it received a number of really mean comments―one told me to “go back to Africa,” essentially. As easy as it is to tell yourself that those comments don’t matter, they still hurt. Words do hurt, even if they’re coming from behind an anonymous username on my computer screen. I responded by reaching out to friends, who gave me the support and affirmation I needed. It’s not worth directly responding to trolls or pursuing them. My advice is to surround yourself with love and support instead.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Find something that lights a fire in your belly. Write about that. I think that my writing is at its best when I’m writing on something that enrages me. Passion drives good writing.
What are some of your favorite things?
I’m a huge fan of gelato, mac and cheese, and frozen yogurt―even though I’m probably definitely in denial lowkey lactose intolerant…
If you made us a playlist, name 5 artists that would be on it.
Right now, I’m really into Sia, bibio, Chance the Rapper, Nina Simone, and of coursse, my queen, Rihanna.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I want to be settled down in some city, either working happily or pursuing another graduate degree! Of course, I’ll keep agitating and writing, too. 🙂