On Saturday, all I could see on both my Facebook and Instagram newssfeeds were images and photos somehow related to the Trayvon Martin case (I don’t have a Twitter, but I bet that would have been overflowing with tweets about Zimmerman). I spent the last week reading articles describing the racial profiling that was occurring inside of the court; ironic, because I believe this entire trial is occurring because, initially, someone racially profiled an individual. I also spent my week watching the trial live—and I know there were so many moments filled with doubt about what truly happened that night between Martin and Zimmerman.
This case, although I believe was not treated adequately and the Martin family did not receive any justice, has made me think about so many other dire issues. For example, how would this trial’s verdict differ if Martin was white (or if he was a female) and Zimmerman was black? What about if Zimmerman was white? Of course! The verdicts would have been the extreme opposite. It is such a tragedy that racial profiling is STILL present throughout the court system. Just because the victim is black, he or she is seen as more dangerous than a white victim. Or, simply, because the perpetrator is not white, he or she could not have possibly racially profiled a black person.
What is this world that we have come to? Why is it that our race make such a huge impact on how we are perceived and how we are treated—even worse, why is our race judged by the court system? Shouldn’t all women and men have equal rights as well as equal opportunities, regardless of their race?
Like Martin, he did not have a choice that night. He was innocently walking home and although he had some contact with marijuana in the past, (similar to almost every other teenager in this country), what makes him a target? Is it that he was wearing a hoodie—umm, why wouldn’t he? It was raining. Or is it that he was black? If the reason is because of his skin color, then the legal system must also understand that as a colored young man, unfortunately, Martin had probably been stereotyped throughout his life before this incident. Therefore, as Zimmerman followed him, of course he is going to act defensive! Martin probably thought to himself, “Why would an older and bigger man be following me?” Even to me, that’s scary—I would have probably acted in the same manner that Martin did. If Zimmerman was allowed to “stand his ground” then Martin should be allowed too—Martin acted in defense to an older man following him.
I guess what I am trying to describe through this post, is that the society that we live in and the way people are allowed to treat one another scares me. This trial sends the message that racial profiling is allowed—racial profiling is the only mechanism that can be used to solve issues. Isn’t this supposed to be something that our country has been fighting since Abraham Lincoln roamed these states? Almost 20 centuries later, we are still facing these issues.
So it’s the summer after your freshman or sophomore year in college (maybe even junior year), and you have nothing else to do besides go home and watch sitcoms with your cat and moma. Why not be productive this summer and consider taking on an internship? Internships can give you great insight into the field that you would like to work in. Plus, there’s always great coffee in the office’s kitchen! Here are the top three reasons why you should consider being an intern:
1) You are young!!! People love receiving ideas from young, beautiful, witty people like you! You are all over that social media, pop star news AND national debates. Why wouldn’t an executive company want your ideas? You need to remember that your youth does not only mean you are not old enough to legally purchase alcoholic drinks, but it also means that you bring a new and creative perspective into the sphere of work which you are participating.
2) Networking!!! Did anyone ever tell you how important it was for you to get to know your teacher’s friend’s father’s college roommate? Because your teacher’s friend’s father’s college roommate is the president of some-huge-corporation-that-you-aspire-to-work-for. When you become an intern you will have the great opportunity to meet some pretty distinguished and amazing people. These people are doing great things to help our world. Whether it is attorneys, doctors, CEOs, or even hair dressers—they are all there. And once you develop a great connection with them throughout your internship, they are more than likely to help you in the future.
3) And lastly, but most importantly. You will gain a sense of confidence (if you did not have one already, or if like me, it was lackin’ in some areas). Your supervisors will ask you to read an article and write a summary. That’s right they will TRUST that you read the article coherently and are now providing a full on summary about what exactly the article was about. You may have to present ideas and research in front of panels; you may call people in other states, other countries to ask them for advice and or favors; you may even be in charge of ordering all of the 156 donuts for next week’s meeting. If you feel that you could use a confidence booster, get an internship! It’s the best way to enhance your self-esteem and learn how to present yourself through a credible and ideally manner.
“Choose DukeEnagage in New York”, they said. “It will be so much fun. You will be in the citayyyyy”, they said. They were right—but only to a certain extent. Before making the journey from California to the Big Apple, I was constantly reminded that this summer would be filled with exciting lights, glamour, and just big, popping, things; after all, I was going to New York City.
Now, that I am living in the city (woo-to-the-hoo), I find myself more TIRED than anything else. When I am not working, eating, or at the gym, all I want to do is lay on my bed and nap or fall into a deep sleep. After walking to work, reading and writing all day, walking home, having dinner, going to the gym, it is about 10 o’clock p.m. (the night is just beginning) and all I desire upon doing is closing my eyes and dream about a tireless life.
Then I ask myself, “Is this what the real world is like?” Because if it is, I am not sure how I feel about that. Will I be exhausted for the rest of my life? If this is how I feel by myself, how am I supposed to cook for mine AND my husbands dinner? Even worse, how will I take care of my children?!
Why in the world am I so tired after a day at work? I have worked before, in and out of school, and I have never felt this exhausted at the end of the day. The summation of reading, walking, writing, running, listening, seeing, eating, plus the addition of my surrounding filled with ongoing noise, nonstop movement, and never ending clusters of people make me feel DRAINED. The entire commotion that comes along with living and working in the city makes everything so much more excruciating. Is this what everyone pictured when they told me to come to New York? Hell no! They pictured me walking up and down Fifth Avenue dressed like Kim Kardashian or partying at Webster Hall like Nicki Minaj.
The feeling of fatigue that I continue to come across every night at about 9:37 p.m. has taught me a little something about life (here, comes the Ghandi in me). It has taught me endurance—there are some nights when I just want to crash, but I remember that there is a paper that is due tomorrow at eleven a.m. So what do I do? Grab my laptop, go under the covers, and type until I cannot see the letters I am pressing on my keyboard. Then, there are those nights that come after my horrible day in the subway, work, and even at the gym, so I just lay down and read for enjoyment. Then, of course, there are the nights when I am extremely tired and all my friends are getting ready to go out, and even though my mind is telling me no, my body keeps telling me yes. So I join! I go out and explore NYC. After all, life is all about endurance. We endure the pain, tiredness, work, or whatever it is, and we enjoy the result or the fun that comes out of it. If this lovely Manhattan of mine has taught me anything, it is that in order to work and be happy, one must be willing to suffer through it all and still see the bright side at then end of the tunnel ( I know, that’s a bit cliché, but it’s true). Enduarance. Endaurance. Endurance. I must keep reminding myself every day as I continue to live the life of a college-student-interning-in-New-York-City.
“Why not go into the profit world?” said Merle Hoffman as I sat in her conference room alongside the other Moxie girls. Why didn’t this ever cross my mind? This entire time I dreamed of becoming a doctor and doing nonprofit work overseas in an impoverished country. I also dreamed about starting my own non profit (which I do not know what I would focus on or what my mission would be), and I envisioned someday designing a method to give my hands as support to others who need it. But to make a profit, now, was something that never even crossed my head!
My family always instilled in me the importance of helping others who are in need. I was raised to help, to aide, to support others in need and to expect NOTHING in return—not even a thank you. As Ms. Hoffman described her initiative to make a profit through helping others, I began to feel this antsy, thrilling, inspired little voice inside of me…maybe I could help others, and just maybe I would receive a profit from using my own ideas and my own hands to create a difference in this world.
Despite feeling motivated to make a profit by my giving to society, I feel a bit in disbelief. I grew up volunteering at local hospitals, hospices, and elementary schools. Why did I spend my entire childhood doing this? Is it because I wanted an early opportunity to experience working with people and children? Or is it because I liked speaking to others and hearing about their struggles and achievements?
Actually, it’s a little of both. Through the hundreds of hours that I spent each year not receiving any monetary value for my work, I always felt extremely proud of the time I spent giving my care and affection to my students and patients. Never did the need for money cross my mind. Now, however, that I look back at my childhood I am skeptical about the volunteering I did. Should I have asked for a wage? Should I have done less quality work because I was not receiving any monetary value?
Even though Ms. Hoffman’s voice continues to echo in my head, I the voluntary experiences I have had through my childhood and teenage years are essential to my ability to work with others now. The numerous encounters I had with people as a volunteer will continue to help me as I work with others in the public sphere. My basketball coach always said “Practice give you perfect,” right? Maybe through the years I spent practicing, I gained the poise and confidence I have now as I work with my colleagues at Legal Momentum and as I speak to my Moxie girls.
Not only was the conversation with Ms. Hoffman eye-opening, but the daily conversations with the Moxie girls have truly made me reflect on my goals and aspirations. But hey, that’s what a summer program like this one is supposed to do!
Although I continue to have my dream about becoming a doctor, there are many other things I want to experience before I settle down and become a physician. The only reason why I have been so hard on myself about following this path and not letting anything get in between is because I am too scared to take risks. I fear the unknown and I fear losing grasp of where I am now. However, both the Moxie gals and Ms. Hoffman have been depositing the idea of taking risks—taking risks to achieve what makes me happy. In the end, these risks could lead me to ultimate bliss. Coming to Duke was a huge risk that I had to prepare for mentally and physically, of course.
And I comforted myself and convinced myself that this was it. After four years, I was going back to good ole’ California. Now, however, I ask myself, “What were you thinking!!?” There is so much more work that needs to be done and so many more sites to see before you settle down and work in a hospital. There are so many social injustices still prevalent all over the country that I need to help address by taking risks. Moxie has given me insight into the various aspects of life that I had never ever touched or even though about. Now, I feel empowered to take risks, to fight for justice with my own education and sovereignty.
Lorena is a rising sophomore interning at Legal Momentum this summer.
Hey there! My name is Lorena Garcia and I am a sophomore at Duke University. When I heard about he Duke Engage Project, I thought to myself, “Woah! Who wouldn’t apply to this amazing, FREE, community service program?” Right, wouldn’t you? So early on, I began to look at the different programs and I thought about applying to an international program. With time, I decided that I was not ready to go abroad and do community service in an impoverished country. I felt that I was not ready for that type of experience. Most importantly, if I could not prepare myself mentally, then I would not be able to help others effectively. I decided to look at the domestic programs…and THAT’S when I saw the New York City Duke Engage program. The feminist in me felt thrilled and invited to apply to this program. This program is perfect for ME!
So, this summer I will be participating in the Moxie Project with Ada Gregory. I will be working with the National Judicial Education Program of Legal Momentum, a program that strives to end domestic violence and sexual abuse. The work may be similar to my work-study job in Durham where I work with a non-profit called Durham Connects and help mothers all over Durham County—many of those mothers live in poor conditions and my team and I assist them to Medicaid and Food Stamps. To be honest with you, I have never worked with anyone dealing with domestic violence or sexual abuse (at least, not that I know of). However, I am soooo excited to immerse myself in this type of atmosphere this summer. It will definitely be a life-changing experience.
At Duke, I am a sociology and global health double major and on the premed route, aspiring to be a pediatrician. Another side of me would like to help others through legal work, service or even beginning my own non-profit. This program could help me mold my goals and dreams and maybe even transform my entire aspirations. I often reflect on what I want to do for the rest of my life:
Why am I on this planet?
My entire life I have dreamed of being a doctor… but never have I given any other career any thought, until this spring when I took a Women Studies class at Duke. I realized that there are many issues out there that I would like to address. Maybe I can help others, in another manner outside of the medical field. THIS EXACT thought is what led me to the Moxie Project–to spend eight weeks giving all I can to hopefully make a change.