I’m writing now preparing for a trip where I’ll meet so many people and talk to them about cherishing birds and their migration. Hopefully also speaking about how those birds, and their patterns, speak highly of our impact on the environment. How we find ourselves valuing them will say a lot about us as a society. I can’t wait for the stories I hear and share with others. I can’t wait to put my feet down on West Coast soil.

But this post about who I am. A chance for you to meet me. I was born in Rota, Andalucia. I’ve lived most of my life divided between two cultures bouncing on Space A flights between Spain and Norfolk, Virginia. I graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA with a focus on international conflict. Even then I was bouncing for some years between internships and classes in Washington, DC and Mumbai,  India. I then lived in New York City for 8 months promoting electric vehicles before my health had me retreat back to Norfolk for two wonderful years. In short, I’ve been a bit of a nomad home anywhere with interesting people and lessons to learn. Location and nationalism takes a hard back seat in my life to the immediate community around me.

The traditional labels of identity, for me, only come up when I’m facing the assumptions others make of me. How does ethnic identity, for one, remain a part of your identity when there is no Scottish/Navajo/Andalucian box to check? “Multiracial” loses something. Even checking multiple boxes I can’t check the Native American box if the words also include “not Hispanic.” What does White Hispanic even mean? My last name is McWilliams, but that Scottish last name veils that my other three grandparents were a Sanchez, a Guzman, and a de la Cruz. My first name is Christian, but other’s assumptions on that hide that I am someone who has no connection or allegiance to a religion. Honestly, My Southwest Arizona father and Southern Andalucian mother just wanted a name that could be said easily in both languages and are probably very happy I define who I am without all that nonsense.

I try to define who I am on what I do, how I treat people, and what I believe. I believe in fairness and equality. I believe America should strive to push itself and other nations to rapidly reduce emissions despite the conflict of interest that has on economic growth and the power balances it threatens. I believe a truer peace comes with renewable resources. I believe our species will not survive otherwise. I believe we should respect the people we meet, drop expectations of their appearance and name, without forgetting the struggles it can give them, and do what we can to honestly connect. I’m a progressive, multicultural, multiracial, bilingual individual obsessed with global trends who has benefited from the cover off a perfect accent in two different languages. I believe who I am requires understanding my complex list of identity labels but not forgetting who I am is more than the sum of those parts.

I hope we meet someday. I’ll buy you a coffee if you give me time. We can discuss the human, economic, and environmental values of the coffee industry done right or just share a laugh.

Christian McWilliams

Christian studied International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University with an interest in global environmental conservation, and has lived most of his life between Spain and the United States. Internship experiences during his studies have taken him up and down the East Coast of the US, and had him spend over a year in Mumbai. He enjoys keeping up with global and domestic news, volunteering, and a well made cup of coffee.

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