When Barbara Field gave her pitch on the OpEd Project at a Publishers & Writers of San Diego venue in Carlsbad, I found an immediate fit.
From that introduction, I did not see the OpEd Project’s charter as one limited to women who want to expand their voice into the written media, but more broadly as an opportunity to all under-represented voices to participate in a broader national dialog (and hopefully international in the future) to drive change through the power of ideas.
During my participation in the “Write to Change the World” seminar, right about page 8 of my hand written notes I can see a big note in “font 42” capital letters that reads: “THIS IS AN EMPOWERMENT CLASS”. I found that as a Hispanic immigrant the internal voices of doubt, humility, fear of failure and others are voices that are common to other Op-Ed Project participants. The program is not a recipe, but it brings awareness that rather than letting the internal voices become excuses that silence the message, they are simply considerations to be addressed in the construction of an active dialog. The program provides a strong motivation and a roadmap to change ones relationship with power and authority from one of fear to one of social responsibility and participation.
For me the greatest potential of the OpEd program is still to be realized, and I have great hopes that it will materialize. I will participate in the mentor program and intend to reach publication within the next few months. The path forward is now clearer and the spark that ignites the participation in a broader dialog has been ignited.
Agustin Balaguer is a Hispanic immigrant to the US who is fascinated to find and explore what made and makes the US a world leader and a great country to live in. Immigrant roots go back in both branches of his family as far as the early 1900’s. Agustin is a 2004 Sloan Fellow from MIT, holds a BSc in Electrical Enginering and works as a Senior Strategy Manager for a semiconductor company in San Diego, CA.