Ziegler YRLF 2016 Application

What is your level of educational attainment?

Question 1 of 9
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:45:45 -0700
    Q: If you hope to receive academic credit please include any academic requirements you hope to meet, any course work you need to integrate?
    A: No I do not intend to get academic credit for the summer internship.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:45:24 -0700
    Q: Why do you want to work in an interfaith community? What do you hope to learn, and are there any challenges you may be anticipating?
    A: Working with Faith based programs and clubs for community development or organizing projects have been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. When I joined El Accesso the leaders on their team also mentored the development of my voice as Latina on my campus. I grew in understanding of just how powerful my culture and story are and how I can use that as a tool to connect with my community and be a mediator to them. I know that partnering with an interfaith community such as CLUE will also grow my voice and strengthen my skills.
    The two years I spent in leadership with El Accesso was challenging because as I helped out on my campus I had my own share of financial and familial circumstances. Every week I spent seven to nine hours with El Accesso. There were times when I was physically tired and needed rest. Yet, my faith and passion for justice on my campus were the drive that allowed me to continue. In time I learned time management skills and was able to balance my school, familial, and community involvement responsibilities.
    Similar challenges may arise while I intern with the fellowship, but I am certain that with the help of community and my own personal drive to serve low income communities and develop faith-rooted organizing skills will enable me to proceed throughout the entire program. I am above all thrilled by the possibility to grow in a new ways and to continue to grow in developing my voice.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:45:04 -0700
    Q: What are the unique gifts that you feel you can offer to the group of interns you will be joining?
    A: The hardships I have seen have developed a passion in me. I care deeply about low income communities. I believe I have the ability to easily communicate with them for two reasons; I am bilingual and speak both Spanish and English and I live in a low income community and understand the struggle of living in poverty.
    I am very persistent and resourceful. In order to afford school this year I fundraised for two months; I wrote letters to different people who could possibly sponsor me, a GoFundMe account, and did yard sales. I am a hard worker and I do not give up easily. If I do not understand something I ask questions.
    This past summer I did an internship at a private law firm in Downtown L.A. I had never been exposed to any type of legal environment and from the first day I was given many tasks. I was overwhelmed and stressed from time to time because I did not want to disappoint the attorneys who had given me the opportunity to intern at their firm; but I managed to end well and with an invitation to come back.
    I believe these are skills I can offer the group of interns I will be working with because they are essential gifts for organizing. I will be able to work with my group in a passionate way yet also sensitive to those with whom we will be working with. My skills can be an asset to the team when we communicate with the community.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:44:43 -0700
    Q: What do you hope to learn?
    A: I have been given a few opportunities to participate in social justice events in my community through El Accesso a faith based club on my campus. Yet I continue to yearn for further opportunities to develop more skills to better serve my community. Through CLUE I will learn how to mobilize, organize, and even educate my community in the workforce an area in which I have never been given an opportunity to fully grow in understanding in before.
    I hope to also learn about public policy if I am accepted into the fellowship. I have a great level of interest in public policy but I have never been exposed to an environment where public policies are constantly spoken about. I know very little about how to practically fight against economic injustice and I believe CLUE will give me an opportunity to grow in learning practical skills through hands on experiences.
    Faith rooted organizing skills will benefit me in the long term. I know one way of seeing justice unfold in my community is by helping them access resources and understand their rights. The understanding I will gain if I am accepted into the fellowship program will be the foundation of my life as a future attorney and ultimately servant of my community.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:44:18 -0700
    Q: Why do you want to participate in an organizing Fellowship to learn the basics of Faith Rooted Organizing in the fight for economic justice?
    A: I have been on a long journey trying to understand the ways I am specifically called to serve my community righteously. Participating in a fellowship this summer will help solidify what God has already been doing in my life. I will be learning about faith-rooted organizing skills that I will be able to use wherever it is that God calls me to do alongside my legal profession.
    My goal is to study public interest law and assist lower income communities with legal aid. I know that through this fellowship I will learn about economic injustice, be involved with my community, and most importantly help organize to end this injustice. If I am accepted into the program, I will be given the opportunity to equip myself with the tools necessary to be an attorney that addresses the needs of my community.
    There are so many specializations within public interest law and I am in the process of understanding what I should specialize in such as criminal, immigration, or family law. Involving myself in my community will help me discern what my specific calling within law is. Also it is a privilege to be able to serve my community, walk with them in their pain, and advocate for economic justice on their behalf. This is why I know that participating in your fellowship program will be a perfect fit for me.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:43:58 -0700
    Q: In what ways does your faith play a part in your commitment to social and economic justice?
    A: Even when growing up in a challenging environment I always knew about the existence of God and the sacrifice Jesus had paid for to be in relationship with me. I also experienced God’s intervention in my broken home and family. My father was an alcoholic and my home was under constant stress because of domestic violence and poverty. Growing up I constantly visited my dad in prison, because he was always incarcerated.
    I prayed for years for God to intervene and restore my family. In time God transformed my family; the process was painful but God walked with us throughout it all. The same way God changed the dynamic of my household and the same way he came and took hold of us to heal us I know he also desires to do that in other’s people’s lives too. As a follower of Jesus I strongly believe that the marginalized and oppressed are at the core of God’s heart.
    I believe that true justice is only fully experienced through Jesus and by loving and serving as he did. Jesus was and continues to be the perfect example of righteous Justice. As a Latina I understand the hardships, discouragements, and the feeling of not being heard because you are a minority or an outcast. As a Christian I know that all hope for oppressed, abused, and underserved communities lies in Christ. My commitment to serve comes from my hope on Christ’ promises to bring justice to issues of social and economic injustice.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:43:34 -0700
    Q: Tell us about your commitment to the work of social justice and leadership experiences in justice related activities:
    A: I grew up in a poor neighborhood and attended a predominantly Hispanic school. I saw many in my immediate community suffer because they lacked good resources. Many families were unemployed, on welfare, and had an illegal status. Most of my childhood friends had alcoholic fathers’, and their mothers had been victims of domestic violence. Learning this gave me the desire to help so I looked for ways to get involved through clubs or programs on campus. Eventually I became part of a leadership team called El Accesso on my campus that allowed me to interact with and lead students into believing that they have a voice to fight against injustices.
    As a result of my active involvement, last year in spring, we partnered with Enrique Morones in San Diego and served a non-profit called Border Angels for a week, this partnership got stronger. We drop water bottles in the deserts of San Diego for immigrants crossing the borders we were hopeful that one of the bottles would save lives since many immigrants die because of dehydration.
    The group was active and strong on community development and involvement. We went on retreats and did community service activities that distract students from personal crises while providing support, guidance, and empowerment to help students overcome challenges.
    My involvement on campus soon developed a hidden desire to be an advocate for the disadvantaged by representing them as a lawyer and also changing public policy. Many in my extended family are undocumented and suffer as a result of that; others have a legal status but are unaware of their legal rights. Through my education I hope to be part of bringing an end to a non-represented Latino community.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:43:10 -0700
    Q: Tell us about who you are and where you come from, your studies or current work life:
    A: I was born to two Salvadoran parents who emigrated from El Salvador during the guerillas in the 1970’s a time where the lives of Salvadorans were in danger; so they came to the United States in pursuit of a better life. I was raised in East LA up until my early teenage years. I then moved to Montebello with my family and have lived there ever since. My father now is an undocumented construction worker and my mother a stay at home wife. From my three siblings I am currently the first to pursue higher education and I strongly believe this is due to my parent’s work ethic and dedication to me their daughter.
    I feel pride in being Hispana, the lessons engraved in our Latino minds, hearts, and spirits is that no matter how difficult, challenging, or unjust a situation might be, those before us taught us to fight and never give up. When faced with opposition, I remember my Latino community. This is why I have set a goal to go to four year university and then law school to become an attorney.
    I am currently a student at UCLA and my intended major is sociology. My desire to pursue this particular discipline evolved from my personal experiences. As a child I witnessed verbal and physical abuse in my own family and in my community which fostered a sense of hopelessness. My culture and experiences have taught me to give back to those who have done you good; after achieving a higher education, I plan on being of service to my Latino community and help represent lower income communities with my profession as an attorney.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:37:48 -0700
    Q: If you hope to receive academic credit please include any academic requirements you hope to meet, any course work you need to integrate?
    A: I do not need academic credit.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:36:58 -0700
    Q: Why do you want to work in an interfaith community? What do you hope to learn, and are there any challenges you may be anticipating?
    A: I want to learn in an interfaith community because I believe it gives us a more clear view of the big picture while at the same makes us so much stronger. I have seen a lot of churches within their own faith be stubborn in asking others for help and continually trying to take all tasks on by themselves and I think it just shows where their pride is. To participate in an interfaith community such as this one I think will restore what communal kingdom work looks like. I am really interested in learning about the dynamic of this setting. Like any collaborative effort there are bound to be disagreements or differences in thought, but instead of giving up, what do we do to work through these differences and refocus on our common goal of social and economic justice? One of the bigger challenges I am anticipating is setting aside my perception of how challenging being a part of an interfaith community is. I have seen few models of this that haven’t ended up with one group speaking loudly while the other is held to a whisper, and am looking forward to my previous framework being challenged.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:36:31 -0700
    Q: What are the unique gifts that you feel you can offer to the group of interns you will be joining?
    A: I would say that one of the unique gifts that I am able to bring to this group of interns would be my time spent as a bridge builder. I didn’t realize it until my undergrad career where many mentors spoke this into my life when they witnessed the way that I navigate conversations between people who seem so different from one another. In having conversations on race with roommates seeking to better understand that which they have never had to deal with they said that for the first time they felt they could be honest with how they feel because I do well at making people feel heard, respected and safe. I would say this gift has helped me in group settings most when I notice someone being neglected in the conversation to give them confidence that their opinion and voice matters not only to me but the group as a whole. Another unique gift that I have is being a good activator. Many times in groups we begin to discuss and discuss, at times second guessing ourselves and seeking perfection when we should really be moving towards action. I have done well at encouraging groups to move forward and this has developed confidence in a group and shows that we believe in each other and our ideas and our plans and we are all here to support one another.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:35:55 -0700
    Q: What do you hope to learn?
    A: In entering a fellowship where we are addressing social and economic justice issues surrounded by systems, I am most excited to learn about the systems that make up our resources. I want to learn more about what interfaith networking looks like in southern California and what are some of the ups and downs that come alongside that. So often I have witnessed individual churches struggle amongst themselves and argue amongst their own what being a part of social and economic justice looks like. While I understand that interfaith communities have the commonality of working towards justice for the marginalized aside from theological beliefs, I am curious to learn about what this looks like practically. Another thing that this dynamic brings up is cultural norms, especially when the fellowship is also multi-ethnic. With people who are all so different how do you navigate who is at the table, who is allowed to speak at the table and what speaking at the table means for certain people? I say this because of the respect for authority especially in Hispanic church. What does sharing power look like and understanding privilege look like in our own fellowship before we seek to interact with another complex system effecting social and economic justice?
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:35:30 -0700
    Q: Why do you want to participate in an organizing Fellowship to learn the basics of Faith Rooted Organizing in the fight for economic justice?
    A: When I heard about this opportunity in class, one of the things that stood out to me was the collaboration through fellowship. To go on this journey with people who are already on the ground doing the work with so much experience would be a blessing in and of itself. While having some understanding and experience in these settings I think there is so much to learn from this group particularly in seeing how their faith relates to their work for them. Between all of CLUE there are so many experiences, so many stories and so many personalities. This is a huge benefit in this experience because we get the opportunity to see different styles of addressing social and economic justice all in one place. Multiple teachers help give us a larger picture to use as we begin to figure out our roles in this movement. Another thing about the fellowship is that there are fellow learners, other interns to not only learn with but to learn from. This multi-generational aspect of this program is one that I believe is God honoring and kingdom honoring as well because there is a sharing of a torch that burns brighter when we are all able to collaborate and move together.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:34:52 -0700
    Q: In what ways does your faith play a part in your commitment to social and economic justice?
    A: As I said earlier, I truly believe that work in social and economic justice is indeed kingdom work. My faith as a Christian is what gives me hope, what gives me purpose and what gives me strength, all things quite essential in working towards social and economic justice. In my undergrad I realized that my theology studies played a huge role in keeping my fire burning for social justice issues because it brought me hope. In moments where I would feel overwhelmed by how big these societal structures and systems were and how deep their roots ran and how little I was, it was my faith that continued to give me hope. It gave me hope because in my heart I truly believed that through Christ all things can be redeemed and where we fall short the Holy Spirit continues to work. My faith gave me purpose because over and over in the scriptures I saw the way that God is the God of justice, continually watching out for and protecting the marginalized. Then in the New Testament we are presented with a selfless Christ who continues to do the same while instructing us to also love our brothers and sisters in the same way. As I have witnessed and experienced in this work, something that we can always use more of is strength and rejuvenation and once again this is where my faith has played a huge part. The prayers sent up in desperation, in lament, in gratitude and in joy have all been used to connect me with the Lord of Life and as I have re-centered myself in him I become more centered in myself and who he created me to be and how he created me to Love. My faith is so intertwined with my whole life, and my commitment to social and economic justice is no different.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:34:24 -0700
    Q: Tell us about your commitment to the work of social justice and leadership experiences in justice related activities:
    A: I was able to attend Azusa Pacific University in large part to receiving the Multi-Ethnic Leadership Scholarship. It was through the training I received as a part of this scholarship that I began to learn how realistic it would be for me to get involved with practically addressing issues of social justice. Practicality became a huge part of making my blurred dream clear. As I began to see examples of others addressing systems and making changes that actually produced results I was so encouraged in pursuing engagement with broken systems. On the other hand when I saw fellow justice seekers being shut down, their resilience and persistence also encouraged me. It encouraged me because I was able to see others who also believe that no matter what justice is worth fighting for because people are worth fighting for. When I was a Residence Life intern I was curious as to why so few students of color applied to be Resident Advisors and also with our increase in the total number of students of color at the university why we didn’t take more time coaching Resident Advisors how to engage in reconciliation in their multi-ethnic/ multi-cultural living spaces. While I knew the Residence Life office and Students Center for Reconciliation and Diversity office had a history of tension in their relationships I was able to facilitate dialogue between them which began more dialogue as to what the action steps would look like to impact Residence Life in such a way that would take steps forward in increasing the protection of the vulnerabilities of students of color on campus. Being able to sit at this table was one of the more memorable moments in my life in recent years because even though I was a senior on my way out and would not be able to directly see the changes implemented from this gathering I knew it would help students like me long after I left. This to me is one of the most beautiful things about work in social justice, the fact that it is so humbling. Social justice constantly keeps us accountable as it reminds us to think of others and love them with the same capacity that we love ourselves. Also as a person of faith, in my experience it has been nothing short of exhilarating to realize that our work here on earth is ultimately kingdom work.
  • answered 2016-04-20 23:32:57 -0700
    Q: Tell us about who you are and where you come from, your studies or current work life:
    A: Originally I come from a small migrant farm town in southeastern Washington and over the last few years have come to realize how much my time there shaped me. Very early on in my childhood I became familiar with circles where I was the other. My mother grew up working the beats and potato fields of Idaho and eventually worked multiple jobs to put herself through college. My father grew up picking cherries, asparagus and working in the hop fields, but eventually worked his way into being a cement mason. With that being said, for better and worse my parents made a promise to themselves that my siblings and I would never end up back in the fields. This game plan is what placed me side by side with the “other”. They sent me to a private school where I was the only non-Dutch student from k-12. This gap in otherness became quickly apparent to me when I was in 1st grade and I came to the realization that the granddaughters of multiple farmers that my father and grandparents worked for were in my class. When I got older the stares and comments at school functions made more and more sense. I was a symbol that the “help” could in theory have the finest education in the area that used to be reserved for the “boss”.
    When I was in 10th grade my brother had just been released from jail. He went down to watch the largest event in the region with us (the Cinco De Mayo parade). There in front of hundreds of people the police shoved my sister and I aside in an effort to arrest my brother in the middle of the street. Around a dozen cops chased him as the parade stopped and when they he was arrested many of the Dutch people began to cheer. They cheered as if something great had just happened. They cheered as if the police had just captured an arsonist or murder. This will always stay with me not because of the embarrassment and pain my family felt, but because that was when I first realized how flawed systems are and realized that I wanted to do something about it because I did not want any other family feeling what we felt.
    As I have been going to school full time I have also been working at a church, not as a youth pastor or any other pastoral member, but as the grounds crew. At first I wondered why, but then as I became very close with my foreman it all began to make sense. As we worked we got into each other lives. As he let me in I learned about how much the church has taken advantage of him by paying him a salary instead of by the hour and how he is the only documented worker in his whole family, and the cruelty in the way their landlord treated them. Once we became family these issues became my issues. These events continued to fuel the fire in me seeking to address the corrupt structures surrounding the most vulnerable people in our family.
  • answered 2016-04-20 16:35:27 -0700
    Q: If you hope to receive academic credit please include any academic requirements you hope to meet, any course work you need to integrate?
    A: none
  • answered 2016-04-20 16:34:54 -0700
    Q: Why do you want to work in an interfaith community? What do you hope to learn, and are there any challenges you may be anticipating?
    A: I want to work in the interfaith community because I would like the experience of working towards social justice in a new space and environment. My faith and relationship with God is very personal to me and significant in my life. I believe my main challenge would be getting out of my comfort zone when expressing my faith to others.
  • answered 2016-04-20 16:34:35 -0700
    Q: What are the unique gifts that you feel you can offer to the group of interns you will be joining?
    A: In a society that discourages emotion, I believe that empathy can be a radical tool used to achieve social justice. I was trained as a violence prevention advocate. My training has taught me to be sensitive to heavy subjects. I know how to handle difficult situations. In addition, I am a good listener and can effectively agitate others.
  • answered 2016-04-20 16:34:11 -0700
    Q: What do you hope to learn?
    A: I hope to learn what it means to be a member of a religious community that is based on a shared struggle, not just a shared religious identity. My experience as an organizer has been healing for me and I would like to be able to explore that more, articulate it, and share my experiences with others. I also hope to learn more about other religious communities and the role of social justice in these religions.
  • answered 2016-04-20 16:33:49 -0700
    Q: Why do you want to participate in an organizing Fellowship to learn the basics of Faith Rooted Organizing in the fight for economic justice?
    A: My experience as a child and attending the May Day march was life-changing. It made me understand the vulnerability of humanity, the importance of loving strangers, and the significant role that religion plays in social justice movements. While constructing my undergraduate research paper on a Latina faith based activist organization, I was intrigued by their forms of rituals and reflections as strategies to agitate politicians and the rest of the community. I want to be a better organizer and learn to be inclusive of the faith community. The Ziegler Young Religious Leaders Organizing Fellowship would allow me to continue building relationships with others, however within the religious community, in order to meet the needs of my communities.
  • answered 2016-04-20 16:33:24 -0700
    Q: In what ways does your faith play a part in your commitment to social and economic justice?
    A: My activism, education, and passion for people stems from my desire to understand my own situations. Engaging in a movement where people have similar struggles has allowed me to understand and explore why systems of oppression continue to exist. History is a form of storytelling that recognizes and validates the struggles that human beings have faced and continue to face, and provides a space to heal from the trauma and pain of our history and current conflicts. Providing a space for individuals to share their stories and listening to them can be an enlightening and wonderful experience. These intimate moments I share with people, often people I do not know, represent the faith we share in each other and humanity, and remind me that God lives through us.
  • answered 2016-04-20 16:32:57 -0700
    Q: Tell us about your commitment to the work of social justice and leadership experiences in justice related activities:
    A: My first social justice engagement was in 2006. I was eleven years old, in the fourth grade, and walked out of class to attend the May Day march for immigration reform, otherwise known that year as “the Day without a Mexican.” This experience empowered me to question authority and my education, and created my desire for justice. I reflect on this experience, my first time participating in an action, and the significance of my mother’s willingness to have me part of a huge movement for immigration reform. My mother exposed me to social justice and created the doorway for my activism.
    As a former intern at Peace Over Violence, I was a peer mentor and Youth Leader in violence prevention. This experience expanded my knowledge of violence, as it is more than just physical contact or emotional attacks, violence is systematic oppression and the lack of resources in communities; it is racism and discrimination against queer, low-income, and people of color. I led workshops on understanding the cycle of violence and practicing healthy relationship, and together my mentees and I learned from one another. I believe my training has provided me with a strong foundation for organizing. As an intern at UNITE HERE’s summer program, Organizing Beyond Barriers, I spent two intense months shadowing organizers who built non-union campaigns and developed skills to agitate and promote worker’s economic rights. My passion for justice strengthened with the relationships I built with individuals through story telling. I was inspired by the organizers, workers, and the power of our collaboration. These experiences challenged me and taught me the importance of empathy, vulnerability, and community.
    I wanted to continue building these relationships with workers and create the opportunity for students and workers on my campus to work together for economic justice. A group of students and I have developed a student organization on campus called Poets Organizing Workers’ Economic Rights (POWER) to build a network of students, faculty, and workers, on our college campus and in our communities of Whittier and Pico Rivera, to promote solidarity for workers in their fight for economic justice. As one of the main student organizers, I have developed partnerships with unions such as UNITE HERE, SEIU, and UFCW and engaged students in conversation about economic justice by hosting events and creating space for workers to share their stories. We have supported campaigns such as the Our Walmart Campaign, the El Super Campaign, and the Fight for 15 campaign. POWER has grown with several students, faculty, and workers from our campus attending meetings, events, actions, and building solidarity through shared struggles.
    I believe that my studies are part of my social justice work. I am passionate about people and understanding the oppressions communities currently face through a historical perspective. I believe that to understand the root of our oppressions as individuals and as a society, we must learn and understand our own history. Issues such as economic injustices, violence, and immigration policies are modern conflicts that are contingent of systems of oppression that were created centuries ago. These experiences are part of a larger narrative that connects us all together, and understanding current issues from a historical perspective allows for the voice of the oppressed to be heard. I recently completed my undergraduate research project which was based on Las Madres de Este Los Angeles, a grassroots organization founded in 1985 as response to a prison proposal in East Los Angeles, and explored the significance of their identities as traditional Latina madres, as they fought to liberate their community from state oppression. I analyzed their organizing strategies and found that through maternal, spiritual, and community organizing, las madres successfully halted the creation of a proposed prison in East Los Angeles. Very few people are aware about this maternal faith-based organization, Las Madres de Este de Los Angeles, and the contributions they have made to their community, the movement, and to the historical narrative of Latina activism.
  • answered 2016-04-20 16:32:10 -0700
    Q: Tell us about who you are and where you come from, your studies or current work life:
    A: I am Chicana, born and raised in North East Los Angeles. I take pleasure in meeting new people, engaging in conversations about dismantling systems of oppression, going to concerts, and braiding my hair. As a first generation and full time college student, I am a History and Global Cultural studies double major and Religious Studies minor.
  • answered 2016-04-18 11:22:56 -0700
    Q: If you hope to receive academic credit please include any academic requirements you hope to meet, any course work you need to integrate?
    A: I do not wish to receive academic credit for my participation in YRLF.
  • answered 2016-04-18 11:21:38 -0700
    Q: Why do you want to work in an interfaith community? What do you hope to learn, and are there any challenges you may be anticipating?
    A: I want to work in an interfaith community because I think that having a variety of faith perspectives is incredibly valuable. Understanding how different faiths approach the topic of social justice allows for a more inclusive environment, as well as a more united front. As an individual without a formal, organized religion but a strong dedication to my own spirituality, I would provide a unique perspective as an intern. One of my biggest strengths is connectedness; I easily and frequently see how things are related to one other. This strength is extremely valuable in an interfaith setting, where I can see the similarities between two faith perspectives and help bridge gaps between them. I also enjoy engaging in religious discussions with people whose views differ from mine. I have a year’s worth of experience in conversations similar to the ones I expect we will have at CLUE through my previous fellowship, as well as many courses related to religious studies, to guide the way. Through my many conversations with people of many different faiths, I have learned that in an open discussion of values, beliefs, spirituality, and religion, most people just want to be heard. I believe that everyone has something valuable and worthwhile to contribute to the conversation, and their beliefs should be respected, no matter how different they are from my own. As an extremely passionate person, I am often reluctant to change my own view or opinion on a particular topic. However, with the experience I have from the Values and Vocations fellowship, and my own personal strengths, I understand how to put those differences aside and focus on the bigger picture.
  • answered 2016-04-15 11:36:05 -0700
    Q: What are the unique gifts that you feel you can offer to the group of interns you will be joining?
    A: I feel that I have many unique gifts to bring to the group of interns. Not only do I understand CLUE and the work that is done there, I have had experience mobilizing on issues of economic justice through CLUE. I also believe that I can bring the gift of music to the group. As a trained singer and musician, I understand the ability of music to unite and inspire large groups of people. At school, in various choirs, and through my own curiosity and interest, I have studied and learned several protest songs and the importance of them in various movements. I have an extensive knowledge of community organizing music, and that knowledge would prove helpful and useful to the group. My music skills can help us choose music for events, de-stress at the office, and my performance skills could be used in a variety of situations.
    I have also participated in a similar fellowship. Through Occidental College’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, I have participated in the Values and Vocations program; the program requires an internship related to social justice work and a weekly seminar where we discuss the relationship between spirituality, our values and the social justice work we wish to do vocationally. Because of this fellowship, I have a heightened sensitivity to different religions, perspectives, personal values, and individual approaches to social justice. My experience with a similar program will help me to quickly navigate the waters of this one for both myself and for others.
  • answered 2016-04-13 11:27:52 -0700
    Q: What do you hope to learn?
    A: I hope to learn effective methods of organizing and mobilization. Watching the black liberation protests on Occidental’s campus, and the weeklong occupation of our administrative building that it inspired, I was amazed at the organizers ability to plan such an elaborate consistent protest that engaged a large portion of Occidental’s community. Their strategies and tactics allowed their message to dominate conversations and classrooms for an entire week. Their rhetoric got students excited to sleep on the cold, hard floor of our administration building for an entire week. I would love to learn the skills to effectively plan and execute such a large, hopeful, and successful event. I want to learn the strategies and tactics of a good organizer, and what strategies fit what types of protests. I want to learn how individual events fit into a larger goal and movement. I hope to begin to learn these skills through the fellowship.
    I would also like to learn more about the intersection between faith and social justice. Fully understanding the connection between these two things will open up an entirely new avenue of social justice work for me. I will be able to more effectively engage, recruit, and inspire religious and faith-based communities. I also believe that it will be beneficial to me on a personal level, and help me sustain my own commitment to social justice.
  • answered 2016-04-11 13:16:53 -0700
    Q: Why do you want to participate in an organizing Fellowship to learn the basics of Faith Rooted Organizing in the fight for economic justice?
    A: Though I have been very involved in social justice issues, most of my experience is in education, fundraising, and direct client work. While direct client work is very valuable, my real hope is to create and change existing policies that will affect more people than I could help directly; I would like to expand my skill set to include organizing. Organizing, activism, and protest are critical parts of the process that changes policy. Without a significant push from the public, policies usually remain the same. Faith-based communities are important both to the community at large and to movements of social justice within those communities. Faith-based communities have an important and inherent understanding of the importance of social justice, and make up significant and varied portions of the community. If you can engage religious communities, you can engage a large and wide-reaching group of people.
    As previously stated, I hope to become a social justice activist and organizer. I am passionate about feminist causes, but economic injustices permeate every single social justice issue and are inseparable from all of these other fights. Learning the skills to organize and engage faith-based communities to fight economic injustices would help me engage in other social justice work and would help me continue the work I start and have started at CLUE.
  • answered 2016-04-11 11:04:57 -0700
    Q: In what ways does your faith play a part in your commitment to social and economic justice?
    A: Though I personally didn’t grow up in any real religious tradition, both of my parents did. My dad grew up very involved in the Methodist Church, while my mom was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. These religious traditions very much informed my parents’ values, morals, and commitment to social justice, and they imparted these values to me as a child. While my own spiritual journey has been outside of any organized religion, I believe that my understanding of spirituality comes from my parents. For me, there are three parts of spirituality: a relationship upward, a relationship outward, and a relationship inward. Social justice is a reflection and fulfillment of those three relationships. I believe that you cannot have a positive relationship outward, inward, or upward if you do not actively engage in making the community a better place. Your relationship with the community surrounding you will not be as rich without a personal commitment to social justice and giving back to the community. Your relationship with yourself will not be as strong without the knowledge that you are doing everything you can to help others. Your relationship with a higher power will not be as strong if you aren’t doing everything you can to fulfill the values this higher power instills. Though I don’t associate with a particular church, my own personal understanding of faith is very much intertwined with my commitment to social justice.

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