Have you ever met someone who you know will have a profound impact on your life? Someone who has an exciting future that you absolutely must stick around to see? Someone who has inspired you to no end to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be?
Meet Sylvia Thomas: a student, poet, singer, producer, storyteller, friend, and community art activist.
I met Sylvia during my college orientation at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. I immediately noticed her vibrant personality and how she showed kindness through every action. Since then, Sylvia has become one of my dearest friends that challenges me and pushes me to grow in every opportunity. More so than her overwhelmingly warm personality, Sylvia inspires me through her work
“I perform poetry and art that reflect my story as well as the truths and narratives of my own that other transgender women can relate to,” Sylvia said. “I perform at pride festivals, universities, and events for nonprofit organizations.”
Her work mainly focuses on challenging others to critically analyze systematic oppression by listening to voices of the oppressed, especially in the transgender community.
Sylvia’s platform is growing, and her overall message is simple. When asked what her art is about, she said, “Not only do I talk about myself, but my goal is to make sure that everybody embraces themselves – know that their bodies are enough, their people are enough, and their voices are enough.”
This is everything Sylvia is about, to her very core. Sylvia is the first person people come to when they need resources, help, or someone that will listen. She makes it her highest priority to be intentional about helping others to her fullest extent, proving her selflessness over and over again.
You may think storytelling is an uncommon method for Sylvia’s activism, but it was her natural way of making justice a reality.
“I didn’t feel like I was being listened to or heard, so I decided I would tell my story on the streets, at open mics, and to people that would hear me,” Sylvia said. “Telling my own story was a way that my truth could be heard in a way where justice would prevail. Through storytelling, I was able to find and build community, understand myself, and educate others.”
If the goal is to create a kinder and braver world while we’re here, Sylvia has been beyond successful at only 22 years of age.
“My art allows space for listening and empathy,” Sylvia said. “With empathy comes the reaction of kindness, as innocent and pure as kindness can be, in which we can listen to each other and actually understand one another.”