Featuring Veronica Kugler
Veronica Kugler was born and raised in California, where she studied French despite everyone trying to convince her that Spanish was a wiser choice. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, and then graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in political economy of industrial societies. She worked in strategic marketing for telecommunication companies in France before heeding the call of motherhood in California, and returned to Paris when her husband set her free. She’s on the board of directors of WICE (an Anglophone educational organization for expats in France) and has written for their blog. She’s currently writing her first book and is grateful for every moment she lives in Paris with her children.
Photo taken by Stephane Franzese
We had the opportunity to interview author Veronica Kugler whose essay “The Tunnel” appears in All the Women in My Family Sing. This is what we learned…
What inspired you to write your essay for this anthology?
Whenever people learn that I moved to France with my three young kids, they always want to know how I made such a big decision and what made me feel like it was possible. This essay takes an in-depth look at the moment when I realized that how I choose to face life is always up to me, even when confronted with unpleasant situations. The key message I want to share is that dreams can be pursued at any time; the difficult moments in our lives and the responsibility of children do not have to be viewed as obstacles.
What is one of the most memorable challenges you have experienced as a woman of color in the twenty-first century?
The biggest challenge is raising my children to feel good about themselves without letting their self-esteem be damaged by the media’s portrayal of African Americans. We are bombarded by negative images that show limited possibilities. I want my children to feel that they can pursue or be interested in whatever they want. So many times I have taken my children to events, museums, performances, vacations where we were the only people of color. It’s important to show them that we must always do the things we enjoy even if everyone else looks different from us. This is how they learn to be comfortable and feel they belong in all places and situations.
Give an example of women’s roles in today's social justice movement.
Women have moved into the role of leadership for today’s social justice movements, such as at the Women's March on Washington and in Black Lives Matter. In the past the movements and leadership was sprung from the church, universities and labor unions - all of which were led by men.
What have your experiences been in leadership as a woman of color?
In my previous management positions for telecommunication companies and in my current role as a member of the Board of Directors for an international organization in Paris, I have been fortunate to be with groups that value diversity, which allow me to improve my career skills under favorable conditions.
What do you most hope readers will take away from reading this book?
I hope that people connect with what they read and feel they are not alone. Readers can learn from or be inspired by our stories.