Ciné Julien makes time for their fight in between classes and 9-5 shifts. As a senior at the University of Central Florida (UCF), a member of the Lavender Council, and a full-time employee for Florida Access Network, activism has become their life. Ciné doesn’t stand for only one community. They’re a beautiful web of interesting identities. Black. Latine. Haitian. Queer. Transgender. Non-binary.
“I represent so many marginalized communities,” Julien said. “It’s important for me to be in this fight because so many people in my communities don’t feel like they have a voice to speak up. But I do. I can step up and share information, mobilize people and educate them.”
Ciné’s voice is powerful. It cuts through a crowd like a hot knife through butter. At rallies, they lead chants, announce speakers, and command the stage. On Oct. 2, 2021, the fight for reproductive rights kicked up and Ciné was ready for it. Another heartbeat bill made its way onto the floor for debate, challenging Roe v. Wade and threatening the coalition that Ciné holds close.
“It is time to take action,” Ciné wrote. “Not only is this a reproductive justice issue, it’s a racial equity issue. These bills and congressional decisions will impact our most vulnerable and underserved: BIPOC and marginalized communities.”
Oct. 2 was only the start. Ciné joined Florida Access Network full-time in July 2021. Since then, it’s been non-stop–volunteer drives, mobilizations, protests, and lobbying. They moved their classes online and took up the torch. But that doesn’t mean they stopped their work at UCF.
With the Lavender Council at UCF, Ciné leads safe-zone training where students and faculty learn how to treat their queer peers. When they’re not in class, they give their thoughts as part of the Lavender Council’s student advisory board suggesting new events and drives to help the LGBTQ+ student population on campus.
Ciné’s life is go, go, go, but they know the importance of self-care. When they’re not at the state capitol speaking with legislators or at the office working on the next rally, Ciné likes to take some time to breathe. They like thrifting, visiting the local farmer’s markets in Orlando, Fl., and swimming when it’s not freezing outside. Ciné also has a partner. They go to school in Tallahassee, Fl. so it’s a 4-5 hour drive every time they want to spend some time together, but Ciné knows the drive is worth it.
Ciné’s life works because her environment is adaptable as well as they are. Classes can be online, work can be done remotely, and technology makes communication flow better. The end goal for Ciné is liberation. They know it’s not an overnight fight, and they get tired. But they keep moving as a student, employee, and a co-founder of their own safe-sex organization.
“I always try and remember the significance of what I’m doing,” Ciné said. “I remember what I want the outcome to be for my community and my people, and it keeps me motivated.”