Making Change

A while back I spoke with a group of young men and women from San Francisco International High School as part of Changemakers project organized by their teachers. How I wish I had been given a chance to learn the same lessons at fifteen: that making change in our communities starts with someone unafraid to speak out. Our meeting was extraordinary not just because it happened in my lifetime, but because it took place at all.

McDonough Voice has published the story of our fight against DOMA

Disputed DOMA provision struck down Local couple feels impact of federal law “MACOMB — Sveta Apodaca and her wife, Andi, had been at the forefront of fighting the Defense of Marriage Act for years, but on Wednesday, the Macomb resident said the couple could in a way finally breathe freely.” Thank you to Jackie Smith for doing a wonderful job with the article. Read more at

Discussion of DOMA at WIU

On Apr 25, noon at Western Illinois University Library and May 1, 5PM at WIU Quad Cities Campus, I will discuss the effect of DOMA on binational families and the struggles of the DOMA Project couples. From WIU Calendar: Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Location: Leslie F. Malpass Library, Room 180 Description: The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has affected the lives of thousands of U.S. citizens and ignited a civil rights battle that wound up in the Supreme Court last week.

Our Green Card Interview: A Chance for One Lesbian Couple to Share Their Story and to Address Harm Caused By DOMA

The account of our green card interview, originally posted at The DOMA Project. A milestone is one of a series of numbered markers placed along a road at intervals of one mile that serve to reassure travellers that the proper path is being followed, or a single date during which a certain phase of the project is developed. Thursday, May‭ ‬24, 2012, was a milestone for us. Sveta & Andi in Chicago (Photo: Lavi Soloway)     On the evening before,‭ ‬my wife, Andi and I boarded a train in our town near Peoria to travel north to Chicago:‭ ‬a quiet three-hour ride,‭ ‬past the corn fields,‭ ‬the wind farm,‭ ‬the small communities of rural Illinois, some familiar down to the layout of their streets and others only vaguely known.‭ ‬We watched the sunset through the Amtrak window,‭ ‬and our mutual nervousness was,‭ ‬for once,‭ ‬only the excitement on the eve of an important event and the anticipation of meeting fellow activist, Brad, and our lawyer, Lavi Soloway.

Sveta & Andi: Together for 11 Years, Married Lesbian Couple in Illinois Faces June Deportation Hearing

Originally posted on April 26, 2011, at The DOMA Project. Hello, I am Sveta. I was born in what is now Kazakhstan. I came to the US when I was fifteen; this year I will be thirty. I like Linux and painting. I love a wonderful woman named Andi and I have loved her since we met eleven years ago. We met online, on a web forum dedicated to a show called Xena: Warrior Princess.