I can’t believe that it is almost time to say goodbye to all of my Moxies, New York, and Sanctuary for Families. The summer has absolutely flown by, just as I was starting to get used to the constant noise that can be heard from my 12th floor apartment, the phrase “on line” instead of “in line,” and the non-stop references to Manhattan as “the” city (as if there were no other cities of importance).
My time with the Moxies has reaffirmed that it is not easy to talk about race, gender, sexuality, or any aspects of systematic oppression. I think it will always be hard. But, the act of practicing these dialogues can go a long way in allowing yourself to try to sort through issues that you might otherwise suppress in your mind. Moxie will give you the vocabulary, space, and time to do so. Although at times I just wanted to talk about what I had for breakfast rather than the prison industrial complex, I appreciated the way in which this program pushed me to be more comfortable discussing – and pushing back against – unfamiliar or difficult subjects. For me, the most frustrating part of the program was not this initial discomfort, but rather the absence of solutions. At times, this absence made me feel that maybe no solutions existed, and I had to encourage myself to see past the initial pessimism.
I think what I’ll miss the most is the common language that the Moxies all speak. When attempting to explain to my family and friends the difference between solidarity and charity, I realized that these conversations are so hard to have outside of Moxie because people are coming at these different issues from such different backgrounds, level of exposure, experiences, etc without the same base. It can often be daunting to even graze the surface of deeper conversation, but I’m excited to see how I’ll apply what I’ve learned this summer to the rest of my time at Duke.