Where I grew up in Detroit, the neighborhood was racially and economically diverse, and everybody gave back and helped everybody else. Wellesley’s motto clicked with me, because that’s what my parents instilled in me. This world would be a different place if everyone lived by that motto. It’s the foundation of everything that I do. If I’m not giving back, I’m not doing what I was put here to do.

Imagine the kind of community in which you want to live, and fight for it. I met a four year old who could not speak because of the neurological damage he sustained from the lead in his water [in Flint, MI]. There are serious crises affecting people all around the country, and if we don’t figure them out, we won’t have the kinds of communities that we want to live in. You can’t sit back and let it come to you. It can be the difference between life and death for someone else.

Allen is a legislative liaison for the United Auto Workers Local 6000 and president of the Warriors Trust Fund, a nonprofit that provides support to military veterans. In response to the Flint Water Crisis, Allen launched a fundraising campaign to help people get bottled water.