Today we’d like to introduce you to Keelin Siobhan.
Keelin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been inspired by The Statue of Liberty since childhood and have always related her with freedom and as a beacon of hope. Liberty Enlightening the World (the statue’s real name) no longer has to stand idle. The message is now free to move with the creation of #LL21C (Lady Liberty of the 21st Century), which is an organization committed to spreading messages of Hope, Peace and Freedom.
After the last presidential election, it was very clear that the nation has many voices that are not being heard. Out of that, I saw an “insecurity of the unknown,” where I believe a lot of the negativity and hate comes from. It seems that if we don’t know about something, then we automatically want to reject it. I see a lack of trust in many layers of today’s culture. A lack of trust in Government, Politics, Media, Corporations, Communities, Employers, Families, Lovers and even ourselves.
What really broke my heart was seeing families ripped apart due to the election. I watched this mostly happen on Facebook. I saw comments like, “Don’t even bother with so and so, they voted for (insert derogatory name here).” I saw this from both political sides and found myself getting pulled in and then was like – “Whoa! No” – so instead, I started asking; WHY people voted that way, HOW do we work together, WHAT can we do to help each other, WHERE are people not being heard, WHO are we?
From asking these questions in interviews, I’ve been able to connect to diverse groups and understand their own views of Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. To me, these are the rights of all humans and not limited to a person’s choices in politics, religious, sexuality or geography – we are all-inclusive. In the end, my hope is to help remind everyone that we are all Human Beings.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
This year has been an intense mixture of inspiration, growth, forgiveness and immense loss. I have lost several female family members this year, including my mother, a month ago.
Having this project has helped with grieving but losing my maternal, personal guiding light has been a dark challenge. Losing her wasn’t just a snag on my timeline, but a hardcoded change that shriveled and awakened a piece of me, in unison.
Luckily, my mom and I had discussed #LL21C a few months ago and her feedback was very helpful. We discussed many things, but the biggest was her worry about using “Lady,” and it being exclusive. Since our discussion and her passing, I have been able to clarify that #LL21c is more of a philosophy/organization and not JUST a “Lady” nor only FOR “Ladies!” She also reminded me that my home state of Vermont’s motto is “Freedom and Unity” – how fitting, right?!
It has always been important that the original Lady Liberty is updated in a way that respects the original image, ideals, and is also inclusive. With my Mom’s passing, I now feel an even greater responsibility to ensure the ideals that both women have stood for, are embraced and honored.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about #LL21C (Lady Liberty of the 21st Century) – what should we know?
The goal of #LL21C is to take what is learned from interviews and create content that addresses tough subjects such as alcoholism, sexuality, diverse history, environment etc. – with the intent of sharing humanistic ideals. This isn’t about pushing agendas or exclusion based on politics, religion, age, race. etc. – but rather connecting us, by sharing simple positive goodness from each of our own liberty islands.
Another important piece of #LL21C are the “Where is Liberty” stickers. There are feet on the ground, placing these stickers all over the US! Street art is a fundamental piece for our organization because it allows for anyone who sees our sticker. If they are curious, they can just look up #LL21C and learn more about us – free, fun, creative marketing 😊 To get these stickers, visit our website – we just ask for a small donation to cover the cost of printing and shipping.
To ensure inclusion of all those who are inspired by this, and due to the lack of trust in larger corporations, non-profits and the media – #LL21C is funded by the People. We currently accept donations via our website and we are working on a fundraiser to be launched, in early September. It will raise funds so #LL21C can go into the interior of the country and conduct interviews in places off the beaten path – so stay tuned!
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
All of my family and friends who have provided feedback and smiles – especially, my partner Darren who has been amazing. I come at him with kind of insane ideas and he just laughs and says, “Okay, My Love…” With his support, patience and encouragement, I have a safe space to create, test and learn. He is my rock and I wouldn’t trade him in for all the statues in the land.
Also, the amazing genius of Los Angeles photographer, Monica Orozco or as I call her, #LL21C’s fairy god-mum. I love working with her and the initial images of #LL21C have been shot by her. She said “here, but this felt a crown thing on – you look like an alien!” When we got the proofs back it dawned on me, that image wasn’t an alien, but a really dark, provocative and pissy Lady Liberty. That is when #LL21c was born.
I owe a lot of my dear friend Kathryn Lejeune, as well. Not only is she a super talented cinematographer and travel goddess, but she also lends her skills as an editor, confidant and soul sister in creativity. When I am stuck on something, she always has a helpful perspective to get me back on track. She and her husband graciously opened their home, so I can spend time in both the OC and in LA. Having spaces in both settings is extremely important for the inception of #LL21C and I am so thankful for their hospitality.
I also owe a lot, to my education through Antioch University. Their curriculum and educators are extremely inspiring, and I have a lot of gratitude shooting over to them.
When I made the decision to finally finish my degree, I hadn’t realized the life-changing impact it would have on my personal and professional life.
- Website: www.keelinsiobhan.com
- Phone: 323-767-6923
- Email: theLL21c@gmail.com
- Instagram: LL21C
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/LL21c
- Twitter: keesio
Monica Orozco, Jeff Faucett