The Power of a Shared Story
Episcopal Campus Ministry at UGA
As she finished high school and started college at the University of Georgia, Libby Hobbs experienced prejudice and blame related to the coronavirus, and other bigotry toward Asian-Americans. She hurt, but didn’t shut down. She became comfortable connecting online and interviewing people, and wrote published articles. She’s majoring in journalism and developing her writing career.
“It’s very difficult for all of us to feel like we belong somewhere,” she said of the pandemic’s effect on her generation. “So I’ve gotten very in touch with other people’s emotions, talking to other people, hearing their stories and lifting up their ideas and what they have to share. So I would say over the past couple of years, God has really given me this gift of being able to talk to people.”
In a personal essay for the Georgia Asian Times, Hobbs wrote about her adoption as a baby abandoned in a box on a street in China. Her parents are white Americans, and her father adopted her from an orphanage. Her mother, Dena Douglas Hobbs, the Middle Georgia Campus Missioner for the Diocese of Atlanta, couldn’t travel to China because she was pregnant. She gave birth to a boy, and Hobbs was raised with a brother Eli, of similar age. “We’re like twins,” Libby says.
In Warner Robins, Hobbs constantly encountered reminders that she looks different from the rest of her family, like when a restaurant server offers her a separate check. Seeking inclusion, “I got involved in Camp Mikell and Diocesan Youth Commission, because I did feel like I belonged there.”
When she’s interviewing someone, “my faith has really come in handy,” she said. “My own belief is that everyone deserves to be loved and to feel heard. I think that has really played a major role in how I talk to people and how I asked my questions. I always make sure to like start my interviews with, ‘Okay, how are you today?’ and making sure they feel comfortable around me. Without my personal faith and my personal beliefs and the way I strive to live my life, that wouldn’t really be possible or it wouldn’t be as effective.”