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  • Writer's pictureBianca Martinez

Tsion Amare: A new generation


Tsion Amare is an Ethiopian immigrant, social worker, and current Project Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund. When asked about her background, Amare recalls her birthplace, Ethiopia. Growing up, she experienced a sense of community and shared responsibility among its members–a value that was central to the well-being of society.


As well as this being a large part of her cultural background, Amare admires her parents, calling them “incredible human beings” whose commitment to faith and service played a large role in her upbringing.  It was this value her parents shared that inspired Amare to do the same, which is why she is eager to be a changemaker for young people, the working class, and brown and black voices. She believes that while we often focus on solving the problems that are at the tip of the iceberg, we need to get down to the root issues that are holding people back. Civic engagement amongst young people, adopting a housing-first approach, and accessible voting procedures are just a few of the key solutions that Amare believes could be a part of the more holistic approach to larger and systemic issues.

 

Before starting her professional career, Amare attended Abilene Christian University and the University of Houston, where she received a Bachelor's and Master’s degree in Social Work. While attending Abilene Christian University, she worked at a homeless shelter where she recalls the moments in which she realized that “there were systematic injustices and unjust policies impacting our unhoused neighbors.” It was issues like these she was exposed to that made it important for her to pursue a political career. During undergrad and her graduate studies, Amare stepped into a leadership position, acting as the Vice President for her student body, conducting and presenting research at a national conference, and serving as vice president of the student social work department.

 

Amare was also a fellow of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC)  and was also a Legislative Aide to Representative Rafael Anchia. In this role, Amare witnessed fundamental human rights being disregarded in politics. She describes one of her greatest accomplishments as her ability to hold onto her value of service for others in the roles she holds. Additionally, Amare is proud of being a first-generation college student and shows her appreciation for her parents by crediting them for the strong foundation they provided her.

 

When speaking to Amare about her other professional endeavors, we discussed the barriers she faced. While other students may have had the opportunity to explore unpaid internships, she was focused on getting a job while navigating her professional development in academia. As a young professional and community activist, Amare still faces some different struggles in a field where most positions are held by men who are predominantly white. Amare and I talked about what it meant for a person of color to be in a space that might not be as diverse as it should be, “walking into the Capitol, you are keenly aware of your blackness,” said Amare.

 

Despite these challenges, Amare looks at this opportunity as a way to ensure that young people of similar backgrounds can see themselves represented and feel a little more comfortable in professional and powerful spaces such as the Capitol. She urges others to hold on to their purpose in these spaces, “it is not imposter syndrome when these spaces were not created for those that look like us, but nevertheless, you need to be there, and your voice is essential in moving this state forward.” 



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