Agents of Change: Derrick Lathan

What is your position at STAR?

I serve as the Youth Development Coordinator. I sometimes tell students I’m their “big brother” for short.

How did you come to work at STAR and/or in the field of sexual assault prevention/response?

A bunch of stuff just kind of happened at the same time to be honest. I don’t recall the order of events, but one day I was having a conversation about getting rid of gender roles during a party; another day I was confronting a couple boys in a program I worked for about sexual harassment, and then boom! Dominique mentioned she saw something in me and wanted me to join the team. I knew it would be more of an educational opportunity for me than for anyone else, but it was exactly what I needed.

What do you find most rewarding about your work at STAR?

Being in the classroom is definitely the best part. I want to be a professor after school so this is great practice.

What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?

I just think about all of the stories I’ve heard and all of the things I’ve seen. Someone has to do something. It may as well be me.

What are some simple, day-to-day ways you promote positive change in our community, outside of your work duties? 

Literally, having conversations go a long way. Addressing things when you hear them sticks with people. It’s far from comfortable sometimes so you should use some form of tact, but speaking up can save lives.

What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of the movement to end sexual trauma?

“Think about your mama. Think about your sister. Think about yourself. If something happened to any of you, what would you want us to do? Whatever that is (if it’s withing an intervention framework), do that!”

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