Angelica Moreira: Goodbye to Our Youth Intern
Winding down the summer, we say thank you and goodbye to our MICAH Youth Intern. This is what she has gained from this experience with Genesis:
Three important lessons I have taken from my internship at Genesis
1) Don't be afraid to speak up.
While being at Genesis, I have learned the value in my voice. Throughout the summer, I have had many public speaking experiences in front of public officials and other individuals. I am usually very comfortable being in front of a room of people, but at one point this summer I attended an Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting where I left the room having never spoken. I was prepared to share a statement in regards to healing communities and stoping the militirization of the police, but I sat in my seat growing more fearful of sharing as I looked to the white police officer commanding the front of the room. As a Latinx woman of color and youth, I did not feel as though my voice was meant to be in this space. These spaces were not designed for people who carry identities I possess. I am usually silenced, uninvited, or forgotten in such a space. When the meeting concluded, I left the room disappointed in myself. I felt as though I had the privilege to speak up for myself and the many communities I come from in this space, but I did not take this opportunity. I let my fear and the fact that I am not typically in such a space silence my voice and therefore, my communities' voices. From this experience, I reflect on how important my voice is not only for my sake, but the sake of those who cannot be present in the room for a number of reasons. I cannot let fear silence me and more importantly, who and what I represent. My voice is powerful and worthy of being shared in these spaces.
2) Relationships are indispensable.
I have always valued organizing and grassroots movement. As a student at Saint Mary's College of California studying Justice, Community and Leadership as my major with a double minor in Ethnic Studies and Women and Gender Studies, I have learned about many movements that have created positive social change through their passion and diligence. I wanted to join Genesis because I wanted to see firsthand the beauty of organizing. While having learned so much about organizing, I have learned the most about creating and nurturing relationships between people and organizations. When people come together in shared passion and want of equity and justice, there is so much power in their force. This however, does not happen overnight. Relationships take care, trust, and a lot of hard work. One on one relationship building is what I will take forth with me throughout my journey.
3) Ask questions.
Asking questions is so important. There were many meetings I attended in which people were talking about a certain issue, proposition, or organization using an acronym in which I usually knew little to nothing about. I used to believe I should silence myself instead of asking questions because I may look stupid for not knowing the answer. But having reflected on this throughout the experience, some knowledge is not intended to be shared with people and it is important to ask questions because it is not a reflection of your own knowledge. Rather, this reflects the systems, spaces, and people who are not being inclusive of others. I am valid in seeking to know more information and will continuously ask questions.