Intersectionality is a Leadership Tool

By Carolyn Roach, M.Ed., buildOn Bridgeport Program Director

In a world where adversity often defines our paths, perseverance becomes our guiding light. As a child of immigrant parents in a redlined community and a proud member of the Black and Queer communities, my journey has been a testament to the power of resilience and the value of embracing diverse identities to create collective strength.

Growing up, I faced countless obstacles due to the intersectionality of my identities. Yet, within those challenges, I discovered a reservoir of strength that would shape my journey. Now, as the Program Director for Bridgeport, Connecticut at buildOn, I have the privilege of witnessing the same resilience in the students I engage with every day.

Despite the systemic barriers they face, these young leaders embody fortitude, determination, and an unwavering commitment to creating positive change. Through initiatives like building schools across the globe in historically underserved areas, students learn the transformative power of service and the impact of their actions.

In the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Black and brown folks in the U.S. continue to show remarkable determination and joy. It is within our communities that we find strength, support, and a sense of belonging. Together, we have the power to overcome any challenge and create a more equitable future for all.

I am not held back by my Blackness, my Womanhood, or my Queerness – these facets of my identity strengthen my leadership by having walked in the shoes of my students, experiencing firsthand the challenges and triumphs that shape our collective journeys.

These shared experiences enhance my commitment to fostering the next generation of leaders. My journey has taught me the significance of inclusivity, community, and collective action in the pursuit of social justice. Through my work with buildOn, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community that raised me and empower the leaders of tomorrow.

Our identities may shape our experiences, but they do not define our potential. Together, we can overcome any obstacle and create a world where all individuals can thrive. Embracing diversity and resilience is not just about surviving; it’s about thriving and creating a future worth living in for ourselves and generations to come.