This summer I am completing a virtual internship with the Minneapolis Public Schools as an extension of the Urban Scholars Cohort. Both of these offices are housed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am working remotely from Nassau, The Bahamas. If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s how to embrace and practice global awareness. COVID-19 was so powerful that it put the whole world on pause. Now it’s time to press play. In order to bring these students back to campus safely I have to learn more about what’s going on in the world. I have to know about the reopening plans from New York and California just to ensure that we are truly offering our students the best environment that we can.
These last few weeks I’ve experienced so much growth. I’ve learned more about Xenophobia, being a proper ally, etc in these last few months than I have in my entire life. I have the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life. On the surface we should have nothing in common, but underneath where it matters, we all want the same things. I’ve learned that just because something doesn’t affect my community specifically, it doesn’t mean it isn’t my business or my problem. When Coronavirus first started, it was nowhere near my country, now it’s almost everywhere in the world. I take that as a wake-up call and a reminder that though there may be many miles and oceans that separate us, we all inhabit this Earth together. Even if you never get to travel to these places, 2020 has proven that one way or another we all depend on one another to make the world go around.
I’ve found a renewed strength in my line of work. I’ve been doing research for my organization on equitable hiring practices. We are fighting to ensure that low income and minority students are given the best possible quality of education they can be and see more people they can relate to rising to the top and giving you hope. Working at the Minneapolis Public School, I’ve learned a lot about the everyday experiences of many students. The Bahamas has a predominantly Black population, so I never knew that feeling of walking into a classroom and not seeing people who looked like me. I never had that uncomfortable feeling of being “other”. If I can help to provide that feeling to hundreds of other students then I will do everything I can to ensure that. I’ve learned that when I put my mind to something, I am strong, capable, and so much more powerful than I give myself credit for. My advice to anyone would be to take the time to learn and research about the realities of the people around you. I guarantee you will learn something that will change the way you live for the better.
Author: Raven Dames