Get to know ACLU of WV Community Outreach Coordinator, Mollie Kennedy. We recently sat down with Mollie to learn more about her background and why she decided to join team #ACLUWV. Below is our Q and A.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I was born in Pennsylvania, but moved to West Virginia at a young age to be closer to family. Pursuing a career as a teacher and an oboist, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Music Education at WVU. I was fortunate to earn the opportunity to study in Brazil during this time. My time abroad was a truly eye-opening experience that inspired me to transition into a career in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). I graduated from WVU with my master’s in World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, and worked as an instructor at West Virginia University, teaching ESL to international students from all over the world.
After teaching at WVU, I moved into nonprofit education, where I worked with many adult ESL students, native West Virginians, prison inmates, and others seeking to help teach others, or looking for training in basic skills themselves. I enjoyed my time in the education field, largely because it provided an opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and learn so much from others that continues to inform my thinking and perspectives on a variety of issues.
Working in all of these roles has propelled me into a great deal of advocacy efforts over the years. I have been fortunate to be a part of many wonderful groups of people who work so hard to make a positive impact in our communities. Outreach, education, and advocacy has been a natural fit for me, as I love working closely with people, and I’ve yet to meet a stranger. It’s incredibly exciting to be able to continue many these efforts through my work with the ACLU of West Virginia.
What about the ACLU of WV’s mission most resonates with you?
The ACLU’s willingness to support and defend marginalized communities is something I have always admired about the organization. Having worked in the arts and education, and particularly teaching ESL, I spent a great deal of my time with various minority communities and have a close connection with many of the issues that impact them. The ACLU continues to stand up for these communities and individuals in order to protect their rights and give them a voice.
What are you most looking forward to about being Community Outreach Coordinator?
It is such a unique time, with so many new people getting involved in politics, policy, and advocacy. I’m looking forward to meeting people throughout the state, hearing their stories, and discussing what brought them to the table. I feel very strongly that everyone has unique skills can be applied to the efforts that interest them, and I’m excited to help people find their way into the advocacy efforts they are most passionate about.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love traveling and visiting with family and friends, but I’m also a bit of a homebody. I enjoy spending time at home with my husband, my dog, and my cat, usually watching Netflix and cross stitching.