DIKSHANT MALLA - IMPACT HUB, WEEK 4
I really enjoyed the midpoint speaker, especially the principle of Liberty Elementary/Middle. I liked that instead of talking about his personal life and how he ended up in his current position, he used his platform to speak more about the work he has done and continues to do for the community. While I enjoyed Makayla's speech as well, I though it was more individual centered as opposed to the work she is doing around Baltimore. Another reason I liked Joe is because the work he does inspires me to think of innovative solutions to community problems. Recently I have been very interested in IT and the work Code in School does by integrating youth programming with technology. I think the model of tech + educational programming at Liberty Rec and Tech is something that BCPSS should consider more seriously. Instead of having 3/4 police officers in our office, if we used that salary to provide high-tech resources such as a 3-D printer or a Microfab lab would provide a plethora of opportunities for the youth in Baltimore, instead of being criminalized at sites of knowledge.
DOROTHY CHEN - CENTRAL BALTIMORE PARTNERSHIP, WEEK 4
Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. 5 Dallas Police officers, who were victims of a sniper attack during a peace rally. From every angle, social media bombards us with graphic videos and cutting remarks from all sides about the terrible tragedies that have occurred. And from the protests that have occurred in the days afterward to candlelight vigils that commemorate the murdered, I see expressions of grief, confusion, and anger at the injustices that have robbed people of their loved ones. Amongst that, however, there are also demands for justice from both supporters and opposers of the Black Lives Matter Movement and targetted comments against “the other” party.
Following the events of the past week, I find myself in a situation wherein I am completely at a loss for words. Because there are no words, really, that can capture the amount of hurt and pain that people are experiencing- and as an asian american individual who grew up in a relatively privileged neighborhood, I have to be extremely cognizant of the privileges that I was granted and make a concerted effort to understand the lived experiences of those who encounter violence on a daily basis. But, at the same time, there is an implicit understanding that I will never know what it is like to be an african american living in a system that is fraught with systemic racism. And so how do I speak out against the disparaging remarks made by family members and my adopted siblings in Christ without taking up the space (or speaking on behalf of others) on an issue that I don’t thoroughly comprehend?
I can think of some solutions. I can redirect them to prominent community leaders like Kim and Mikayla, or to the vast quantity of internet resources that are available. I can even encourage them to watch testimonies of people’s experiences with police brutality and institutionalized injustice in the united states to give them a better understanding of the issue at hand. But when they are unwilling to acknowledge the issue and try to see different points of view, then it becomes my responsibility to start a narrative about the underlying issues and encourage them to seek these resources. Because it’s no longer enough to sweep these longstanding issues under the rug, and desperately try to counteract the divisive repercussions of actions that are unjust. And although I still am still doubtful of the amount of influence that I may hold on others, I can’t let that continue holding me back from speaking out. Silence and inaction can kill, and no matter how uncomfortable I may feel about discussing race and power dynamics, I have to continue to pursue these conversations and simultaneously educate myself.
TARAH FITZGERALD - UNITED WORKERS, WEEK 4
The woman opens the door to find myself and three kids, looking up at her smiling -- clipboards in hand. "Hey! My name is Tarah, I'm here with GRIA, United Workers, and three of your friendly neighbors to talk to residents about their housing concerns. Do you have a minute to talk to us?" How could she not say no with these kids smiling up at her? And of course she doesn't. This summer I am surveying Remington in this exact way. Trying to reach out to residents so that they can voice their housing concerns and unite together in order to come up with community driven solutions. I have been volunteering in this community for quite some time, and as a result know a lot of the kids in the neighborhood. They have now become my posse of mini fair development interns, and it is so much fun, (not to mention very effective--who would close the door on or ignore a cute kid)?! With my team behind me we are taking Remington by storm already making great strides in our community organizing. I have realized that it is this local, grassroots, community organizing that I love and want to do if not for the rest of my life, for the foreseeable future.
Being invited into people's homes, and talking to them (not just about housing, but about their passions and hobbies, jobs and families) I am truly doing something I am impassioned by. I am amazed with how open people are with a total stranger like myself. I have been invited into homes and given tours, one in particular was amazing, as the resident had spent the past 10 years building her home as if it were a piece of art. Her tiles, bricks, pipes were all salvaged from scrap material shops and vintage stores and put together in the most beautiful and creative of ways. Another man, introduced me to his tortoise, Golieth, and his many other exotic pets that the children of course loved (and myself!!).
I have been able to meet so many interesting people, and make strides in canvassing and petitioning that I never thought possible! Love my job!
MOLLY HIRSHIK - FUSION PARTNERSHIPS, WEEK 4
goal | gōl |noun: the destination of a journey
Dissecting my goals sheet from before the first week of working at Fusion, I can happily say that I’ve reached a beautiful destination for each of them, where or not I still have farther to travel.
I’ve decided to go through my goals and evaluate them one by one. Here goes:
Learn more about Baltimore’s grassroots organizations.
Within the first few days, I spent hours researching the plethora of organizations Fusion partners with. Their focus areas range from workforce development to environment/sustainability to education. I continually learn about amazing Fusion partners. For instance, Joe Manko is the director of Liberty Rec and Tech, which is a Fusion partner. Heber Brown, the founder of Orita’s Cross Freedom School, is also a Fusion partner. It makes Baltimore feel smaller and smaller the more connections I uncover.
Apply insight from this summer to my outlook in life going forward.
I have been exposed to a side of the workforce I had not previously had an intimate relationship with: nonprofits. It’s been a breath of fresh air from the somewhat prescribed track to investment banking that many of the fellow economics majors are on. The extreme dichotomy I see is this: profit-driven businesses and mission-driven businesses. My good friend from high school is working for a prestigious investment bank and works over 60 hours a week. While she finds her work very interesting, it is undeniable that her work is heavily skewed towards the profit-driven. To me, my summer internship is rewarding in a much more holistic way than I imagine investment banking would be for me. Going forward, I think there are ways to merge the mission and profit driven aspects in new ways (B-corporations). I’ve also gotten to be around people who work hard and are extremely passionate and can see the tangible effects of their work in the community around them. Realizing that kind of passion exists is beautiful, and I hope to hold myself to that standard when looking for work after college.
Be a valued member of the Fusion team by contributing something that will be sustained after I’m gone.
I’ve been working on revamping check request forms, which are submitted by partners to the Fusion staff if they want any kind of reimbursement or for Fusion to pay for something they need. I updated the logo on the letterhead, added additional useful fields, and transformed the previously-used Word document format into a dynamic PDF form. For a long time after I’m done, Fusion will use these forms on a daily basis, and hopefully it will make their workflow more seamless. I’m proud of that.
Make meaningful connections with the Fusion staff and fellow CIIP peers.
I’ve bonded with the two fellow New Yorkers in the office and attended a brunch staff retreat at one of the managing partner’s houses. I feel like I decently know the people at Fusion and their personalities. Almost every morning when I show up, I am greeted with a hug from the staff. They make it very clear that I am valued as a worker, but more basically, as a human.
As I’ve approached and recently passed by the midpoint of my journey, I have started to wonder where I’ll end up. Will I have made it as far as expected? Will my path have veered off on detours? Will I ever reach my destination in the first place? When I set these goals at the beginning, I feel like it was kinda a shot in the dark. I wasn’t necessarily the most well equipped to predict my destination. I had little experience of the vast world in front of me and which direction my journey would take me. Now that I’m halfway done, I have a slightly clearer image of what my destination is. In no way will it be a final destination—it will be merely be one stop along the way of the larger journey that is college, growing up, and of the ultimate journey of life.