Welcome to our Blurb Series: Meet OTTA. Our goal is to provide opportunities for you to befriend our wonderful team and understand how we approach our work as authentic people.
Aidan Lin (he/him) serves as our Executive Director. His main responsibilities include leading OTTA United's staff, providing program direction and support, development and expansion, working with the Board of Directors, and managing the Office of the Executive Director.
We've asked Aidan a couple of questions to get to know him. Here are his answers below!
What’s your story?
I grew up in California and a large portion of my youth took place in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a Mexican & Asian American and member of the LGBTQ+ community, being raised in the diverse Bay Area community taught me to value my mixed identity. Intersectionality is not only important to me but also crucial to understanding who I am and my story.
In high school, I was particularly drawn to the subjects of history, government, and music. When I wasn't with my friends at marching band practice, I could usually be found watching history videos or keeping up-to-date on current events. My pursuit of inclusive communities and relentless curiosity still persist to this day.
My interests were brought together when I co-founded Our Time to Act United, which was originally a music tutoring nonprofit. As we grew, I felt the need to do more for our community. When COVID-19 hit, we recruited over 100 students to provide emergency community support. But even then, I felt our mission still wasn't expansive enough. When I began my higher education at UC San Diego, I felt several missing puzzle pieces click into place. I learned about policy work, advocacy, and organizing. I saw the need for building power in all marginalized, under-represented communities and a clear pathway forward.
What calls you to OTTA’s mission?
OTTA's mission to "organize powerful youth for an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future" speaks volumes to me because it makes a clear connection between us now and the future we will live in. My friends and colleagues know that I tend to procrastinate, but even I believe that our future is not "procrastinate-able." Every day, I am happy to put in the hard work to ensure that our futures are represented in today's conversations. That's youth power.
In your opinion, what is one of your youthful qualities?
Ooh. I already called myself out as a procrastinator! Beyond that, I would say my passion is one of my youthful qualities. It translates into the work that I complete, but it also adds a great deal of burden and stress to my life. As I continue on my personal journey, I look forward to learning how to foster healthy passion and practice self-care.
Who are you grateful for?
I have so many thanks to all who have supported me throughout my journey. Most relevant to this blurb, however, is my overflowing gratitude to the OTTA United staff team and Board of Directors. I have been privileged to work with some of the most inspirational, capable, and diverse youth and youth allies who have uplifted OTTA's programs, impact, and mission further than I could have ever taken it myself. I also have to thank my friends, family, and partner for grounding me and keeping me sane.