Last Friday, around 11PM, I was frantically throwing things into either a suitcase or a trashcan. I accepted the fact that I wouldn’t sleep because I needed to be up by 3AM anyways to catch my flight.
This Friday, around 11PM, I am sitting at our kitchen counter, drinking tea, and only rushing to meet the deadline for this blog post. I adjusted to the fast pace life of New York City, but I also quickly adjusted back to the slow pace life in Louisiana.
In New York City, surrounded by my fellow Moxies, we had conversations of racism, sexism, classism, ageism, and every type of -ism you could think of. In Louisiana, I witness and live those -isms every day.
Before experiencing the Moxie program and New York City, I knew that these -isms existed everywhere, but I don’t think I was equipped with the necessary scholarly literature as well as discussions to pinpoint exactly what was wrong. I had grown up around these things, so they seemed normal to me, until this summer.
This summer turned the normal to unnormal. It made conversations harder to participate in without pointing out someone’s biases or trying to understand why they thought the way they did.
To be honest, I had to catch myself from making this face multiple times before going on a rant about neoliberalism or identity politics or how the way our society is set up is not all rainbows and butterflies. Shocker. This summer made me hyperaware of all of the injustices that take place everywhere – not just certain communities or the deep south.
This summer also taught me about the importance of integrating experiences with what you can learn in a classroom. An individual with an infinite amount of abbreviations behind their name can explain all of the struggles within our society, but it isn’t until you fully immerse yourself within a specific community do you truly understand what is going on.
At Brooklyn Defender Services, the work I did sitting at my desk was just as equally important as when I would interact with individuals; however, it’s the interactions that have stuck with me. It was the seeing lawyers day in and day out fighting for the best for the clients and their clients struggling to navigate and unjust justice system that will remain with me.
I can’t provide you with a step by step plan on how I plan to integrate my Moxie experience into my life at home or at Duke. There is still some unpacking, both literally and figuratively, that has to take place. I can confidently say, though, that Moxie has impacted my view of not only the world I live in, but how I function within those spaces.