In my backyard

Ngozi is a rising junior working at National Domestic Workers Alliance this summer.

Friend: Oh my gosh! You’re doing Duke Engage!? Where are you going? Wait- don’t tell me. Um…Kenya

Me: Nope

Friend: D.C.

Me: Guess again

Friend: Cape Town?

Me: Keep on trying

Friend: Ok, I give up. No, hold on, somewhere in China?

Me: New York City

Friend: But you live so close, why would you choose NYC?


This is the typical reaction I receive from friends and family when I share my summer plans. The people in my life have a difficult time digesting why I would ever want to spend my one and only Duke Engage experience at a location only 15 minutes from my home in New Jersey. To that I say, some things are best learnt close to home (especially if close to home means NYC), and I have lots to learn.

But before I elaborate on what it is that I intend/hope to learn during the summer, I’ll tell you a bit about me.

My name is Ngozi, I’m a sophomore studying History and Ethics at Duke. I’m a first generation Nigerian-American, I love museums, musicals, doo-wop, and baking. This summer I’ll be interning at the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). NDWA is a powerful non-profit committed to providing housekeepers and nannies with a political and economic voice.

I first heard about the organization on a Youtube commercial featuring Amy Poehler. She urges viewers to support the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in California because as a workingwoman and mother, she is highly dependent on caretakers to keep her home running smoothly. Honestly, after 5 seasons of Parks and Recreation, I’ll support anything this woman says!

No, but seriously, domestic workers are an invaluable resource to families where one or both parents work outside the home. Yet, many state governments fail to recognize domestic work as legitimate occupations. NDWA is working to change that.

This summer I want to explore the various methods that NDWA will use to legitimize domestic work. What works? What doesn’t? And where better to learn the tricks of the trade than in New York City? The city is a center of social activism and political activity; how many protests, marches, etc. have been staged in this city in the last 5 years alone? Beyond the bustling political scene,  the city has some delicious food, great music, and Broadway. I’m ready to go!

1 thought on “In my backyard

  1. Hi Ngozi

    OK, I had to comment when I read you like musicals. Are you involved with Hoof N Horn or Duke Players? …

    OK, on to Moxie stuff. I love your research questions (or learning agenda, or whatever you want to call it.) I’m looking forward to reading your reflections.

    Nancy White T80 and Womens Studies Supporter

    P.S. blog about the food and theater too, OK? 🙂

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