My name is Claire, quickly remembered by the alliteration “Claire from Canada.” A rising junior at Duke, I came to the USA as a rowing recruit and discovered a wealth of other passions and experiences for me to throw my energy into. I’m thrilled to be a Moxie and intern with Sanctuary for Families. The NY based organization is committed to ending gender violence by supporting and advocating for women and their children. I will better understand my role at Sanctuary this coming Monday; I head South of the border Sunday afternoon and will face the bustle and subway system early Monday morning.
My upbringing was shaped by strong female leaders and “firsts”: my grandma was the first woman in her town to pursue post-secondary education, while my mother persevered through school and social barriers to become to first female emergency physician in our city. I was raised knowing nothing but equality and justice, witnessing the benefits of empowered women reaching their full potential. It wasn’t until I grew older that my naivety gave way to the reality of the disparity within social, gender and racial groups. I wanted to understand how people had been conditioned to look at a category with multiple variations and rank them from greater to lesser. Why was there an inferior sex or a lesser race? My curiosity led to a preferred genre of literature; I read books from A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini) to Room (Emma Donoghue) and my passion for advocacy and change grew.
I arrived at Duke full of ideas, hoping to find heated discussions and outlets for activism. What I discovered were judgmental peers about the female athlete in their engineering classes, and sexist professors who knew that girls were better suited for the ‘softer sciences’. I was full of passion, drive, and now frustration, but did not know what to do with it all, apart from aggressively correcting rude remarks and assumptions. But I wanted to change the whole mindset, buried in the inequity found within the different categories people fall into. And that brings us to the present: 1 week away from the Moxie Project. I hope to take all of my fuel, passion and attempted self-inspection to do work that makes an impact (however small), and understand and strongly define my feminist identity. There is so much to learn! Contributing to this blog will help both with reflection, and helping to track the change I see in myself throughout the summer. As this is the inaugural post, I will create a kind of ‘bucket list’ here of what I hope to both achieve and experience, and hopefully this will hold me accountable. Here’s to exciting beginnings!
- Learn the grid system both above and below ground
- Engage daily in conversations with others who express different beliefs from mine; appreciate the perspectives of someone else while improving the articulation of my ideas
- Do one thing each day that is unknown, intriguing and ‘scary’…and keep a log of what was done and how it felt to conquer a fear
- Run EVERYWHERE around the island, and repeat
- Find my independence in this new setting, both with navigation and preparing my food. My roommate Maya and I hope to be avid chefs this summer!
- Absorb as many aspects of New York culture as I can
- Take at minimum an hour daily to be alone and reflect, write/blog and summarize the physical and intangible outcomes of the day
- Read the New York Times and attempt as many crosswords as possible
- Walk in the PRIDE Parade on June 30
- Be open and ready for everything I will learn this summer—about myself, feminist theory, the operations of a non-profit, advocacy, and the city.