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Tonja

“Ah! I’m a history buff. So I love culture. In order to learn and love and appreciate the culture of other people, I have to know and love and appreciate my own culture. So, being from Macon, I know that Cotton Avenue has a huge significance to the African American community here. The business community…there’s just so much history, the people, the events that were happening, the things that were happening. I love Cotton Avenue, especially as a place in downtown.

 

I also know there is a painful history about that as well. And so, I’m one of those people…I can see and learn from mistakes, from those things that are kind of difficult to address and just kind of be able to use that as, I don’t know, something that can draw people closer or bring people together to be able to positively move forward. It’s that culture. I love culture.

 

It’s what each individual brings at the table, but what connects them to other groups? You could be one whole person as yourself, but then you have all these other things that can connect you to other people. And that’s what I love the most.

 

I have this thing called ‘creativity.’ And sometimes because I am a creative, even in the business world or the business sense that, I don’t want to say gets me in trouble, but…

 

Well sometimes you have an idea, and it’s too wild. So, as a creative thinker…I bring my background to the table. I come. I have ideas. I have experiences from all over the world, all over the country that I bring to the table.

 

I wish for those things to be respected in the same way that people not like me…in that same sense, those things are respected about them.

 

So sometimes my mind is always going. And so, usually when I’m fresh up, I’m always thinkin’ about my to-do list and how I can get it done most effectively. But my passion itself is, I hate to say ‘helping people’ because it sounds so cliche. But I definitely…I’ve wanted to work the non-profit industry and be able to do something for the community…whether education or political, those are the typical things that are on my mind.

 

In what way can we best and most effectively commit to these issues and make them, just alleviate them, make them a little bit better?

 

And when I was younger, I worked a lot with my aunt, she was always volunteering. She was retired at the time. And so after school, I would go hang out with her. She was always helping people. And I think her dragging me around to help other people is definitely part of that.

 

Travel. I love to travel to anywhere…getting to meet new people, learn about their culture, learn about what they’re doing, how they’re doin’ it. That is, probably, actually what makes me want to get up in the morning – that culture, understanding culture and who people are based on their background…I think that is so beautiful, learning about people.” 

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