Get to Know Ashley Budelli, LO's Diversity, Inclusion, and Faith Coordinator
Ashley Budelli has the best of both worlds. A fifth-grade teacher, Ashley also takes on the role as the Diversity, Inclusion, and Faith Coordinator at Lyrical Opposition, allowing her to pack both her passions into her busy schedule. Lyrical Opposition is enabling positive social action through the arts, and Ashley is an advocate for marginalized voices. Part of her role involves running a book club, where she allows those voices to be heard. “It's really a community atmosphere; we're learning new things in an open space. In the community that we've created, we're all very different. It's multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and everyone can be their whole selves, which is a beautiful thing. “We try to not make diversity about this one event. Every activity, every program that we're doing, it's already included in the DNA of our group. So there's no special push for diversity. It's just that when we're picking books to read, we're thinking of who the author is or what’s a voice that we haven't heard from.” Ashley graduated with a bachelor of science and has since gone on to study ministry. Her degree is in Intercultural Studies, which gives her a unique perspective on inclusivity and diversity. “It’s just having the posture of learning from different cultures and different people. It’s about changing the frame of reference to think, ‘They have something to give that’s just as valuable as what I have to give’, and encouraging people to see how we can all become better from that.” Born and raised in San Francisco, Ashley says she has always been driven to help people to grow into the people that God has called them to be. Part of that comes from her work in school, where diversity can be encouraged from a young age. “With kids, it’s not just that they have a more well-rounded knowledge of others, but they can be active members striving for justice and equity. If you get that to young people, then they'll have that for the rest of their life, instead of trying to instill it in adults. “We're creating a different perspective, starting with things that are anti-racist or anti-oppression or anti-patriarchy. Because we're acknowledging these systems and we're only reactionary so really using our creative imagination and empowering the youth by having these conversations from a young age.” Passion is a central theme in a lot of what Ashley enjoys. Outside of her work, she likes watching movies, particularly when she can go to the theatre to enjoy them. She also hopes to live in a foreign country for a few months at some point and is drawn to Costa Rica as a place she wants to spend an extended period of time in.