Joshua is a gay African-American male, born and raised in a religious family and conservative community in Galesburg, Illinois. In search of acceptance from his peers, he suppressed his identities to avoid humiliation and rejection. After graduating from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, he moved to Portland. He discovered his passion for social justice while volunteering for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. While still harboring some of the insecurities from his childhood and early twenties, he began his spiritual journey to break through his oppression and reveal his authentic self. Following his passion to eliminate hunger in the state of Oregon, he began his career at Oregon Food Bank, where he was introduced to his mentor Daisaku Ikeda.
By Arnel Mandilag