SUNNY SPOTLIGHT: Mlou Aquino
January 29, 2019
SUNNY SPOTLIGHT: Mlou Aquino
Sunny Spotlight is a series in which Sunny interviews a member from CNH Circle K International. If you would like to be interviewed (or would like to nominate a friend to be interviewed), email email@example.com with the subject line INTERVIEW.
Name: Mlou Aquino
School: CSU Long Beach
Division: Metro Division
Current Leadership Role: General Member
Previous Leadership Role: CNH CKI Sunspot Editor (2017-2018), Orange Coast College CKI Technology Chair (2016-2017)
Favorite Tenet of Circle K: Leadership
For today's Sunny Spotlight, Sunny interviews Mlou Aquino about their experience in Circle K as a nonbinary person of color (POC) and what the organization can do to better serve such members.
SUNNY: How did you learn about Circle K International, and what prompted you to join?
MLOU: I was involved in the Kiwanis Family through Kiwins during my senior year of high school, and that’s how I came to know about Circle K International. When I started college, I ran into CKI at club rush. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to join because I would be the only person from my friend group there, but I ended up joining and now I’m here!
SUNNY: What do you love about being a part of an organization with very diverse members?
MLOU: To put it simply, I like that I can learn about different perspectives and about the life experiences of people who are both similar and different from me.
SUNNY: As a nonbinary POC, do you feel included and well represented in the organization?
MLOU: As a POC, I feel pretty well represented because there are lots of people who share the same race and ethnicity as me. However, my experience as a nonbinary member of the organization is a different story. The members are well-intentioned, but most of them are not fully aware of the specifics of my gender identity. I find that I don’t talk about it that much unless I feel 100% comfortable.
SUNNY: You hosted a workshop on LGBTQIA+ during District Convention 2018. What was that experience like?
MLOU: I noticed that there was less discussion among the members for this workshop than for a workshop I previously hosted, which was about microagressions. I think it’s because our members are rather familiar with the topic of microagressions, while some topics introduced in the LGBTQIA+ workshop were pretty new for a lot of people.
SUNNY: What are some things we can do to make Circle K a better experience for LGBTQ+ (and POC!) members?
MLOU: I believe the biggest thing we can do this is to normalize asking people what their pronouns are. I understand this may be new for a lot of people, but when someone asks me this question, this shows that they are aware of and respect different gender identities. In addition, learning more about cultural sensitivity and topics like microagressions would really help to bring solidarity and understanding amongst POC!
Mlou Aquino is a student at CSU Long Beach majoring in psychology. When they are not attending Circle K events, they run a wholesome Kirby motivational blog.