Guest speaker Olivia Nelson talks to P.O.P.S. Club

Ashley Bueno, Reporter

Guest speaker Olivia Nelson came to speak to P.O.P.S. here at Venice on Wednesday Nov. 21 . Nelson studied at the University of Pennsylvania. She has a career in marketing. Fresh out of college, she went to an internship for Microsoft.

 Nelson’s parents had originally emigrated from Jamaica to America. A few years later, they had Olivia. Two years ago she moved to Seattle, Washington, but recently, around 3 months ago, she moved to Los Angeles, California. 

She grew up in a hard place. Her dad was in and out of the prison system and her life. It was almost like every week her dad was in trouble. Her dad sold weed in order to help pay for bills and simple things she needed when she was growing up. In 2007, her father went to prison again. But, for a longer time of about two-and-a-half years. Her dad was later deported back to Jamaica in 2011 when she was a sophomore in high school.

 Her dad came back to the country illegally in 2012. Things were going fine until 2016 when they were leaving a college convention when she, her dad, and her sister were pulled over. Her dad was arrested and served his time in jail and then was later taken away by ICE for another two years. She wants to let people who go through this kind of pain know that they’re not alone. She was also affected by the Prison and Deportation system of America

 Throughout her academic career, her parents instilled a strong work ethic in her. Even though her father wasn’t there, she knew he wanted the best for her. While growing up, she never talked about her problems to anyone. She wished an organization like P.O.P.S. was there when she was going through her struggles. She is speaking out now because she wants to help students and other people with their hardships.

 P.O.P.S. is an acronym that stands for Pain Of The Prison System. It is a club where teens go and express their pain through writing. Students bond over similar experiences of family members that have suffered because of the prison system.

 P.O.P.S. is going to have more guest speakers like Nelson coming to Venice to share their own stories. P.O.P.S. Club meets in room 137 in the Cunningham building at lunch on Wednesdays.