Fighting Poverty with Passion
And by “you,” Frank Ocean means “me.” Not really, but that’s how I’ve seemed to interpret his lyric for this blog post.
Anyhooo, as one of my friends told me when I asked them how they were doing, I’ve been feeling “grateful and great” lately. What I’m feeling grateful for/thinking about these days? Here’s a random selection of thoughts:
-On Thursday, my coworker paid for me to go this super cool training put on by Race Forward, called Building Racial Equity. Basically a primer on institutional and structural racism, how cultural / historical / ideological factors play into system racism, and the leverage points I have as an individual to increase racial equity in the organizations/institutions I’m part of. For me, I was especially inspired by the training’s emphasis on solutions and figuring out the agency and power I had (what little of it there is) to wield. I think when we talk and think about systemic, historical tangly problems (like racism, colonialism, sexism, imperialism, homophobia, etc.), it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed and not see any way to cause change in such systems. But that’s not what happened on Thursday! And it’s been making me view my own work, and even Tulane’s AmeriCorps VISTA program in a new light. I think about my own role as gatekeeper to money, knowledge, and relationships in both of these different organizations, and think about the various leverage points of increasing racial justice. For example, I think this new revamp of Tulane’s VISTA policies could be an awesome opportunity to get more people of color into the program.
-I’ve been feeling really frustrated by my migraines lately. I feel like I get an attack every time I’m feeling super stressed, which of course, then means I have to shut down for the rest of the day and get even less work done. I was talking to my mom about this, and I realized (through her suggestions) that maybe I should figure out how to deal with stress/anxiety better, either by practicing breathing techniques or getting back into daily meditation, or I don’t know what. I just know, right now, my brain pain feels pretty unsustainable (in addition to making me feel like a miserable overcooked vegetable.)
-I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of tools, technologies, art, data, and education. Questions are still swimming around thanks to a talk I went to this week by Jer Thorp. Cool dude. And I love how he combines data science, art, humanism, and civic engagement.