Tallahassee’s “Little Lobbyist” and newly minted author Paloma Rambana speaks with immense gravity. Like many other 12 going on 13-year-olds, above all else, she desires to be heard and understood. While this fundamentally unites her with peers, Paloma is exceptionally unlike any other eighth-grader you might have met before.
Paloma was born with an eye condition called Peter’s Anomaly. Three years ago she lobbied and secured $1.25 million dollars from the Florida legislature for blind and visually impaired children statewide, filling a gap in funding for affected individuals ages 6-13. While her parents could afford the equipment she needed to be successful both in and out of school, she was determined to give others like her the same opportunities.
“I always liked the idea of speaking out about social justice,” says Paloma, whose eloquence from a young age was encouraged by her vision teacher and parents. “I always had it in my mind that I could express myself in a beneficial way to the public by sharing my story through literature and making speeches.”
The result? Paloma’s memoir—“Paloma’s Dream: The True Story of One Girl’s Mission to Help Kids, Inspire Activism and Survive Middle School”— which is available on her website and locally at Midtown Reader and My Favorite Books. As she prepares for her a signing at Hearth & Soul on Aug. 26, Rambana reflects on how she managed to tackle such an enormous hurdle and write a book.
It took courage and audacity at age 9 to stand confidently in front of a crowd; something Paloma admits was no easy journey. She overcame nerves by reviewing her talking points with family and friends. Broadway music inspired her before going onstage. As a junior thespian she created a persona that she believed would share her story powerfully and tapped into that voice to boost her confidence.
As a writer, Paloma most admires writers whose tales are intertwined with struggle and overcoming incredible odds like J.K. Rowling, Malala Yousafzai and Lin Manual Miranda.
“When you speak your words are left in the galaxy; they harden in the air and you may not be able to retrieve them” muses Rambana on the ephemeral nature of speech making. “But you can find literature from many years ago that still feels important and tells a story. With [my] book you have my whole life, and I’ve written it because I feel like you can’t explain things as well though speech as if you write it out.”
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