MARCI MAZZA-FREDLEY, 17
Marci Mazza-Fredley is a social activist, artist, baker, feminist, and junior in high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mazza-Fredley grew up in Ohio for much of her life but calls Pittsburgh her home. She is a member of Pittsburgh’s branch of Socialist Alternative and a former member of the International Women’s Strike coalition. Her writing is fueled by her political activism, often morphing into chants and speeches at rallies and protests. Mazza-Fredley feels that the strongest impact she can make in her community of Pittsburgh is to stand in solidarity with minorities, including LGBTQ community, women, immigrants, the working class and people of color.
In March of 2019, Mazza-Fredley planned and led a youth invested walkout and strike for International Women's Day. At this event, she led a group of students from her school to an area of downtown Pittsburgh where they spoke freely about the fears they have about the current political environment. This event gave voice to youth who otherwise may have been ignored. Mazza-Fredley strives to live in a world where people are celebrated and liberated for their differences, not humiliated for them. She fights for a world where people's cultures, religions, ethnicity, differences, and passions can live in unison and not become the things that separate people into categories.
Alongside her activism, Mazza-Fredley is a baker and writer. These two outlets are where she can relieve stress, express her emotions, artistic talents, and creativity. Her writing usually takes the form of free-form poetry that does not rhyme and is centered on her activism and feminism. Her poems have been published in an anthology published by Girls Write Pittsburgh.
Mazza-Fredley plans to study Business Administration and Women’s International Cultures at Bethany College in West Virginia. She dreams of opening and owning her own bakery and leading a whole life filled with drive and purpose.
by Marci Mazza-Fredley
Black, white, yellow, blue.
Gay, straight, bi, queer.
From birth, we are told that our differences make us special,
For this is a land of acceptance and individuality,
But this is not as simple as it may seem.
For those who dare to seek acceptance in the cruel society that judges behind closed doors,
They are labeled and shunned.
There is beauty in individuality.
So why are they considered “different?”
They will tell you that it is unnatural for a boy to wear makeup,
They say that a woman is to be modest and quiet,
They will preach that God makes a man only for a woman,
They will say that your gender is decided by the genitalia you were born with,
They will tell you that your skin color is a threat to the society around you,
They will say that you don’t belong.
But for those who disapprove were born with the privilege that doesn’t allow them to understand the struggle of being trapped in a transparent box,
Where the world around you is looking in, evaluating and judging you through a microscope,
The people around you shame you into being what they want you to be.
Some say there is fear in the unknown.
Define fear: be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.
Those who love the same sex are not threatening,
Those who live their life free as the gender they embrace are not dangerous,
Those who are born a different skin color than you are not scary.
People who do not look like you, act like you and think like you should not be considered as “other.”
This doesn’t make them different, for difference is an illusion.
This makes them human, unique and special.
There is no other, odd or strange.
Define different: distinct or separate.
How can the country who poses itself as inclusive and accepting disapprove of those who are “different?”
Our individualities should be praised and not demolished.
I may not look like you, this doesn’t make me ugly.
I may not think like you, that doesn’t make me stupid.
I may not act like you, this doesn’t make me strange.
I may not love like you, this doesn’t make me weird.
I long to live in a world where individuality is celebrated and praised.
Acceptance for those who are brave and live in pride.
Shatter what is supposed to be traditional and “normal,”
Because the country that is supposed to be inclusive, ignores those who make this country full of life.