The awakening

Well it only took 15 hours in transit, but I finally made it back to the West Coast. No more subway, no more concrete jungle, and no more extreme heat—but I have found that the Moxie remains.

REVELATION: Racism does exist in the state of Washington!

Oh really?

So does homophobia, sexism, classism,and all the other –isms and –phobias that plague the rest of the world. I say this, not because I believed otherwise prior to our program, but rather, I didn’t have the instruments to recognize them or I wasn’t concerned enough to call them out.

“Ignorance is bliss” has never held more true for me than after this summer in New York. While Washington you could say is a lot more “forward-thinking,” it is in no way perfect.

This transition back home has not been easy. Conversations with people seem to ignore key issues and to be missing real substance. I can’t talk about everything because I either don’t feel comfortable speaking my mind or I don’t think they have the competency nor any personal interest in holding the conversation in the first place.

Do you really care?

I’m stuck—between wanting my Moxies back and having context for these discussions surrounding gender, race, and sexuality, and wanting to enjoy the company of my friends and family without acknowledging that anything is wrong.
But I can’t ignore them, no matter how nuanced and “micro” the aggressions are. Now it not only rubs me the wrong way, but I am forced to think about it. I analyze it because it’s an instinct. I want to do something about it because otherwise, it eats at me.

I am officially woke y’all, but it has its ups and downs. It’s tiring to cope with, but powerful to have in my possession. Being home at home is a struggle, but only a sliver of that which will be encountered back at Duke.

Nonetheless, I am anxious to go back. I am intrigued to see how I conquer the rest of my Duke years (really life in general) and I want to thank Moxie for giving me the tools to do so.

It’s getting REAL

This past Saturday, a reminder popped up on my iPhone to alert me of my flight in one week. I am only THREE DAYS away, from returning home to my real life, and only ONE MONTH away, from returning to the Duke Bubble.

Wait, what?

I find it so funny that I came to New York and into our program, thinking that this would be entry into the “real world.” I wouldn’t have a resident assistant down the hall or my parents hovering over my every move. I wouldn’t be just taking classes, but I would be working a full-time job, not to mention a full-time job in the Big Apple, quite possibly the busiest city I’ve ever stepped foot in in my entire life. I would be cooking, cleaning, budgeting, all for myself—sort of a simulated adulthood, right?

Not going to lie, it was a lot at first.

We. Were. Busy.

But in reality, this city, this experience, this job, this group, has all been somewhat of a fantasy. When will I ever again be living in close quarters with 8 other super-woke, bad-ass women? Over the course of two months, I’ve had deep-dive conversations and revelations with these gals surrounding topics that would never have previously been mentioned in any conversation I was a part of. I’ve gotten accustomed to being so disconnected from the normal Duke environment, or my normal home environment—the people I will be surrounded by for the majority of my next 3 years, my “real world.

Now, us Moxies will have to re-enter these communities, and for me, I’m not sure how I will be able to navigate them. I have an abundance of new knowledge and perspectives, and I’m more anxious now to leave than I ever was when I came here. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to have these conversations with other people, who may be close-minded and sometimes, ignorant; how I will be able to overcome this struggle when those people are my friends and especially, in the case of my family. Then, load on top of this my academics and my extracurriculars, and the other formalities of being a “Duke student,” I don’t know how to feel about returning to my “real world.”

Reflecting altogether on this experience, I am so extremely thankful for what Moxie has given me, because I do not believe I would have had this chance at any time in my official, Duke career. Yet, I feel that my Moxie toolbox will make it difficult for me to re-integrate into my past environments of comfort and for me to accept the horrors that plague our country and our world today. What does this mean for my academics, what does this mean for my career, what does this mean for the path I choose in life, and the people I choose to spend it with? What do I really want to accomplish in my life?

But, maybe that’s the point…

The End of Self-Care

While learning what it means to be an activist, we have been crafting what our activism may look like. And I think all of us Moxies can agree on one thing: it is physically and emotionally draining. We are constantly stressed and tired of talking about how we feel, what we think, and what we are going to do about it. Thus, there’s an emphasis for us as activists to practice self-care, to check-in with ourselves, and to ensure we maintain our personal well-being in order to keep on keeping on.

Which is why when Shannan first introduced this idea of communal care, it struck me as an odd idea. But I quickly sucked up the concept of communal care as a practice that we should all engage in *see pros & cons list below* — For those of us engaging in social justice movements, we do so with the aim to bring together collective action from those around us. While I do see self-care as something we should all remember to do, by solely centering care on the individual, we ignore the point of why care is necessary. We are all resisting the systemic inequalities and oppression of society. That resistance is meant to be trying and difficult and it is meant to break us down — which is why we must take the initiative to care for each other.

Activism is instilling leadership in our communities, not just in ourselves, to build a collective effort and to create a movement. Communal care is prioritizing all of our healing as we all bear the struggles of activist work. We must shift the focus from the individual to the community, both in our activism and in our care, in order to counter the systemic inequalities that impact all of us. Because don’t we all deserve to prosper?

self care


Ragex [ray-gex] (n.) ragexism, ragexist, ragex-esque

  1. The intersection between race, gender, and sexuality

Let’s get straight to the point: the criminal justice system is shitty. It often does the opposite of what it is intended—it kills the people, abuses the people, and rapes the people who are often the most vulnerable in the first place.

The dominant framing right now of police brutality is focused on young, Black men, which is valid. I too was convinced that for now, this should be our primary focus. Neither do I necessarily disagree with that now, because yes, black men are being treated like animals, beaten bloody, and then shot, unarmed in the streets, and this is bad.

However, this is a widely shared experience that occurs commonly with black women. And not just with black women, but with all women of color, and with women of color of the LGBTQIA community, and with all members of the LGBTQIA community. Which brings me to ragex: the truth that the Women’s Movement, Black Lives Matter, and the fight for LGBTQIA rights are inextricable.

For me, I found it difficult to align myself with the LGBTQIA movement, simply because I’m straight. Not that I did not support it, but I didn’t think I could relate. Now, I question why not? We are all deviations from the “normal” and therefore, we are all threats, defying the white, male, heterosexual standard. Yet, we have all been socialized to question those who are different from us. If we other each other, what example is that setting for the “dominant” forces against us?

It all comes down to labels. The difference between identity and ambiguity. On one hand, we can find comfort in identity and shared experience. On the other, why are we so worried about labels and how others identify? We should not have to explain ourselves and who we are, nor be able to, in order to feel safe and accepted.

However, this othering is not only inherent in police officers, but enhanced by law enforcement culture which serves to maintain raced, gendered, and heterosexual “order.” So who do you turn to if your “protectors” are killing you? Abusing you? Raping you? The answer is your community. We must support each other, and not just those like you, but the entire “othered” community. Ragex is not a threat. Ragex is the link—the shared struggle and experience that can bridge us together.

The Maze That Is the “Third Sector”

My first week of Moxie? Check. And I have absolutely loved it.

In just one week, I have been extremely impressed by what all my organization does. Observing the countless ways that Sanctuary serves the NYC area has left me in awe.

Yet, for me, I am conflicted with the nonprofit sector. Not on their work, but on this entire infrastructure. I am pushed to question what is Sanctuary, and other nonprofits like it, actually working towards? Meaningful change or only temporary aid, which in the end will only perpetuate this system of inequality? I feel like sometimes these shelters and centers can just continue the cycle. As Gilmore questioned, why aren’t organizations working towards liberation?

In my work learning more about grants and nonprofit funding, I have seen how organizations can be so limited by their endless pursuit of funding, which is why long-term change and the liberation of which Gilmore speaks, can seem almost impossible. Nonprofits are coerced into being extremely program-focused in order to receive money and continue to function as a whole.

Essentially, this structure of nonprofits renders organizations somewhat of an arm to the government, forced to cater to this system which perpetuates these issues in the first place. If Sanctuary was able to work towards liberation, rather than temporary relief, I can only imagine the change that this organization would be able to accomplish. They have the vision, the drive, and the change-makers, yet their fight for funding limits their ability to collectively act to solve these problems.

The more I learn, the more negative I begin to feel toward society and the system within which we are all forced to accept. But relief in the moment and having people in this world that genuinely want to help this community is better than not having nonprofits at all, right? #Confused

Finding Feminism in the Big, Bad, REAL World

Hey y’all! My name is Adaiya Granberry and I am a rising sophomore majoring in Public Policy with a minor in Computer Science. I hail from Tacoma, WA, wzJQV7-2hich is a little south of Seattle and is where I have spent basically all of my life prior to Duke. Coming to this elite university was a huge culture shock for me coming from such a truly diverse city, and from the West Coast altogether. I felt like coming to Duke, I was thrown into the big, bad, REAL world.

But to be honest, that was kind of what I was looking for. I felt like at home, things like racism, sexism, and homophobia were all very mythic. I myself didn’t encounter (or at least that’s what I thought) people who belittled my worth as a result of my race or my gender. I believed that racism was for the South. Homophobia was for older people who were too stuck in the past to come to terms with the reality of today. I felt myself yearning for not only a different environment, but for the opportunity to experience these tragedies that I protested, but only saw in the news lines in other parts of the country and of the world.

I was immediately confronted with many of these issues in just one short semester at Duke, which was a lot for me to process, but provided much to learn from. I was also motivated to learn more, which is a huge reason why I chose to apply to this program.

What does it mean to be a “feminist”? What distinguishes someone who advocates for women from someone who is a stark feminist? In my high school, this label of a “feminist” always had some sort of negative connotation. The feminists were just the group of girls who hated all of the guys.

While I may not have agreed with this stigma, if you asked me in high school to tell you why or why not, I would not have known how to respond or how to define this very broad thing we call *drum roll please*….. FEMINISM.V8sUu

There is white feminism versus womanism–this idea of a divide that feminism does not encompass the perspectives and experiences of black women and black feminists.

Intersectionality is not just a matter of race vs. gender, but there are the layers of sexual orientation and of social class and of age that all come together to make feminism much more complex than it is often defined as. So as I read more books and do more research and ask more questions, I only question more and more how I can begin to define this conglomeration of ideas and perspectives.

Through this program, I hope (keLhYo92Py word: hope) to be able to articulate my own informed opinion of what feminism is and what feminist issues mean to me. And what better place to ask these questions than in the Big Apple! New York City is somewhere I had never been to before this month, an international hub, and a place which I also see as a conglomeration of different nationalities, ethnicities, sexualities, religions, socioeconomic statuses, generations, and much more.

Through my work with Sanctuary for Families, I want to learn more about the day-to-day work in a nonprofit, more about the inner workings of a nonprofit, and how women’s empowerment might be reflected in their work environment. As my first, real internship (SCARY), I also want to perfect my work ethic. I want to be challenged (in whatever capacity that may be) and really hold myself accountable for the work I put forward and how I represent myself as an intern. I have my first, real opportunity to start crafting my brand and how I want to be remembered as an employee in a larger organization working for a cause that is larger than myself.

So, key takeaways:

  1. I’m Adaiya and I am a Filipino/Black/WestCoastin’/Middle-Class/Millennial feminist.
  2. I am not really sure what being a feminist totally entails, but that’s why I’m here.
  3. I want to be challenged not only by my work, but by the many people I encounter in NYC, by their different perspectives, by my awesome fellow Moxies, and by Ada & Shannan.raw
  4. I’m kind of anxious, but super excited for all of the self-growth to come my way!!!X101l