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40 DAYS of STOLO: HERE I AM

Maya Ford is a first generation American of Afro-Latino descent. She has sharpened her natural and trained talents to inspire inclusion around the globe through behavior change communications. Maya is the owner of FordMomentum!, a strategic communications firm which illiterates her bee-like gifts of query, community, and resourcefulness to produce sweet results.

Maya is a 20+ year veteran in strategic marketing and mass communications. She’s passionate about results-oriented work that supports equity and innovation. Right now she’s laser-focused on comprehensive transformation in transportation, food security, women in government, and positioning millennials to realign humanity. If there’s a system, she’ll figure out a way to get in. To help bolster her resolve, she’s rapidly acquiring 21st century skills, tools, and resources as a graduate student at MIT studying economics with a focus on global poverty.

Maya encourages us to tell our own story without the boundaries of what society says we are and refuses to pretend that change is someone else’s job. She lives by 5 pillars called the Standard of LOVE (#SToLO): Literacy, Self-Esteem, Values, Economic Power, and Justice. While Maya sees herself as a global servant, she spends a lot of time continuing to learn and practice the 5 standards in the moment she’s in.

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PROTEST AGAINST FAST FASHION

Maya began a protest against fast fashion in 2017. She learned that the U.S. consumer is the largest consumer of fast fashion and that both African Americans and Hispanics spend a combined $2.3T. Textiles and ready-to-wear consumer goods are produced and sold on the backs of slave labor. The practice of purchasing these consumer goods violate Maya's STOLO for her values, self-esteem, economic power, and justice.

She began to find ways to address each issue and found personal and political freedom through her solutions. Each garment Maya is wearing is handmade by her or someone she knows personally. She exploits her opportunities to travel to visit and learn from indigenous people. There she purchases textiles directly from tribes and local markets so that she maximizes the economic power of the exchange. Also, she learns nuances of tribal customs for textiles so that she respectfully articulates cultural nuances in her dressmaking. Maya is not an expert dressmaker, so she uses the same few patterns for all of her clothing. This simplifies design while also paying attention to not commit violence through cultural appropriation.

Maya almost always represents some form of her family's heritage from Panama in her jewelry. Her clothing and design are usually a "mezcla" (mixture) of cultures from around the globe. Her intent is to represent the fullness of women's connectivity around the globe and to make sure they are seen in a respectful, powerful, and dignified way. Every day Maya's decisions through her attire compel people to stop and mention something they admire. From her earrings to her cotton woven shirt or skirt, they must acknowledge the presence of something ancestral. Maya uses this method to attract and educate people of the complexities of their decisions and some easy solutions they can employ to make change.