When I started as fresh new intern with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), I originally thought it would be different than what I’ve experienced. I thought I was going to be filing papers and etc., like on television. Soon I realized I was in the wrong place. Not to say I entered the wrong building but to say that I entered a place where they did’nt push papers, but instead they went out into the community to make a difference within that community. I realized in this internship that you have to be outgoing and be able to find your voice. I was the quiet guy that sat in the corner and didn’t say much. I could not be that guy in this internship! I learned that you have to realize that you have a voice and the power to make a difference within your community.
I believe I have grown as a person throughout this semester as an intern. I intend to take what I learned here and incorporate it into my future life. If you asked me,“ what was one thing that I learned here?” I would tell you that I learned to take action to change things now, instead of not caring. I’ve learned that if you dismiss something because it doesn’t relate to you, it can still happen to you. As a person I’ve grown to express myself and to become more analytical. At first I did want to speak much. I liked to stay to myself and not talk to many people. Now I’m opening up more with my peers.
I’ve become more understanding with situations that I have never dealt with. I always felt that if the issue didn’t pertain to me, I didn’t have to concern myself with it. Overtime I’ve realized that it can happen to me one day. So why shouldn’t I make it an important issue to handle before it happens to me? I also see that being involved is beneficial to my education and safety in the streets. At first I didn’t agree with being nonviolent but in time I have swayed more towards its path. I still feel that if I need to stand up for myself, I will, even if it results in violence. Now bear with me, I try hard to maintain a focus of peace, but it is hard to remain nonviolent. I feel though that I’m working better with achieving the goal of being a nonviolent peace leader. We deal with many issues like this one that I have mentioned. From promoting nonviolence and peace to working with communities and helping them be aware of what’s going on. We’ve been doing many events and through each event I’ve found that my opinion does matter, no matter how much I don’t think it does. Honestly through all the work that we do with other organizations, I feel that we uphold what we say we’re going to do within the community. For example, when we work within the 7th and 9th Ward, we make sure that the kids enjoy themselves but as someone who lives in the 9 Ward I would want to see more good things being done in my area. From my time in this internship I’ve noticed that AFSC is pretty much on the level that they say they’re on. AFSC does a good job promoting their nonviolence policies among young people by doing these events.
We worked so hard learning to make a difference in our communities that we attended multiple training meetings. One of the meetings was The People’s Institute’s Undoing Racism training. At the training, we spoke about different issues within the community and how they related to racism around us. We also talked about different issues that happened to us and how they related to racial discrimination.
Another mandatory meeting for training was the Cultural Organizing Workshop. This meeting was intended for us to team up with different organizations in a closed space and discuss the issues we dealt with and better ways to help get more people involved in cultural organizing.
One community issue that I would like to get involved with would be to help clean up the streets. The people who work to fix streets and make the communities look nice don’t really focus on smaller areas. There are many places that get over looked and need to be landscaped and cleaned. I want to help make these eye sores go away. The people who live in these areas don’t want to see them, and neither do I. That’s what I would like to help with outside of this internship.