Scholar Class – 2013
Emily Ptak-Pressman happily grew up in a warm and loving queer activist family in Baltimore, MD and later Madison, WI, attending her first pride march in Washington, D.C. at the age of two. Emily is committed to fighting oppression of all kinds. Raised by two lesbian mothers, Emily was spurred into activism after Wisconsinites – including some of her own relatives – voted in 2005 to amend the state constitution to marginalize and discriminate against families like hers. She is now also compelled to act by the oppression she has faced since coming out as queer, the struggles of her transgender and gender non-conforming friends, and the racism and classism she witnesses at school and as reflected in national education and immigration policies.
After starting a GSA in her middle school, Emily helped revitalize and make more inclusive her high school GSA. She organized Words Hurt and Human Rights Weeks, two annual school-wide events to fight bullying and support global human rights. She discovered the joy and power of sharing stories to create change through participating in Proud Theater, an LGBTQ youth theater group, and leadingtrainings on topics such as being an ally to transgender and gender non-conforming youth, LGBTQ rights, and how various identities intersect. As an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College, Emily plans to study the way art can be used as a tool for social change. She is passionate about ensuring that all people can share their voices, get the support they need, and feel loved.