There are many things I could write about with what’s happening in this world today and the things I have learned since I begun this adventure in LA. But.. I just watched- well scrolled down and stopped on- this video from facebook.
On our last retreat we took time to talk about race. We were given space to sit and search our minds for what race means to us. We were given time to sit and search our minds and share what race means to US.
I love working at Hillsides.
Honestly when I can remember when I had my interview with Lupe and literally feeling like this is where I needed to be and now that I'm there, I'm right. Being there is like a CRAZY mirror to myself. Working with my teens really makes me look at where I was at their age and try to really understand where they're coming from on top of all they're going through and experiencing.
My first couple of days there I already could tell a lot and it made it easy for me to jump into the groove of things. Understanding more about how things work and not instantly trying to change things. It's also super comforting knowing that everyone who's there REALLY loves what they do. I want to help them do more but I don't know how. I'm trying to learn to let that come to me and focus on all of the teens I'm working with one at a time. I'm also trying to not go into this mentality of trying to save my kids. I know that's not my job and I'm trying to just be someone to listen and remind them of how great they are and how much they are able to do.
As a sixteen-year-old Haitian refugee, my birthmother climbed out of a refugee boat with her boyfriend onto the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The protective shield of the refugee camp became a tiresome burden once the young immigrant realized she was pregnant with a baby boy. After a long pregnancy, on June 4th 1995 I was born into the anxious arms of frightened teenaged parents who did not realize their new family would be soon torn apart. Three weeks later, my birthmother and I were sent to Grand Rapids, Michigan to be raised in foster care; presenting a better opportunity than being returned to Haiti. Unfortunately, my birthfather, after being considered too old, would be sent back to Haiti, disappearing for almost two decades.
As an Episcopal Urban Intern in Los Angeles, I talk often with other corps members about privilege. We actually have several times where we all meet to discuss difficult topics like race, sexual orientation, and gender, among other things. These conversations can make people uncomfortable for many reasons, but I enjoy them. I acknowledge my privilege, and also recognize how in some ways I don’t have certain privileges that others have. My privilege is most easily seen in contrast to my clients at Chrysalis, where I work as an Employment Specialist.
These are reflections from corps members and alumni of Jubilee's Urban Service Programs. They cover topics ranging from the sun, fun and friends in in Los Angeles to the uncensored experiences of serving vulnerable populations in our beautiful city. These are Voices of Service.