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The Westfield Voice

S.A.I.L Profile: Lorenze Beltran; A Self-Educated Man


Lorenze Beltran is a 21-year-old from the small farm town of Easthampton, Massachusetts. He has been working for S.A.I.L. since the fall semester of 2021 and will be graduating from Westfield State in 2023 with a Nursing degree. He helps to promote, organize, and host 82% of campus events. For the last year, he has been captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team helping to at least try to have daily practices.

He grew up in a conservative household and throughout his childhood, he followed their lead. It put a strain on some of his relationships through high school or even kept him from making new friends. He used to speak out against the Black Lives Matter movement and the LGBTQ+ community. But, Lorenze also admitted he did not educate himself on either topic of conversation.

He used to be the person who would call liberals “snowflakes” while he would be the first person to be offended if someone said anything to him that was off-putting. It wasn’t until COVID started and Lorenze got the time to educate himself about these issues that it was even a concern. But even then, it took George Floyd’s death to push Lorenze away from the conservative Republicans that he stood for. The responses from Republicans disturbed him and left him feeling disjointed from a people he had thought he was a part of.

The resulting riots and uproar with the BLM movement motivated him to use his access to academia and social media and the internet. He began to educate himself on the issues that he had previously remained ignorant on. He found that history was and is constantly being erased for people of color and for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Lorenze’s journey away from conservatism had begun. He researched many issues, some for school and some for himself. He came to realize that many issues such as race, gender equality, and LGBT+ rights did not directly affect him the way he had been told growing up. He started to critically think about situations such as George Floyd’s death. Rather than just reading the first line or article and forming his opinion off of that – which he, and many others, who were, or are, right-leaning had done.

This journey led him down a road of questioning himself both past and present. It was his entire ideology and belief system that he was reworking to better align with his true self. He had been just listening to the adults in his life and had never questioned them until Floyd’s death.

His father criticized him, but that did not stop him. Lorenze realized that he did not need to so aggressively oppose something that does not directly affect him negatively. He felt a moral calling to educate himself. These movements and conversations were not hurting him or his ability to live his life, but the opposition to these issues was (and still is) hurting those these movements stand for.

Lorenze had found that back home and on campus many of the teenagers who are conservatives simply refuse to research some issues and just blindly follow their parents. Some of the conservative adults he had met refused to see things differently or even read anything even if they were presented with information that challenged their beliefs. They did not question the way things were the way he had taught himself to.

They did not question why there are homeless people when there are empty houses and facilities that are sitting vacant and unused. Nor did they question why officers like the one who killed George Floyd were allowed to operate in a harmful and racist manner. It bothered him why they did not question, but it wasn’t his place to educate those who were not ready to listen.

Today he considers himself to be a socialist and much more open-minded. He previously had been incredibly judgemental of those who held different beliefs. So, Lorenze learned to listen. He learned to just hear what others had to say about issues such as racism, sexism, and hatred towards any group of minorities.

“It takes more energy to fight it than it does to just accept it.”

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