What was your favorite event?
Maybe not an “event” per se, but I loved EVERY dance party. People in the US don’t dance enough! This was such a great way to get everyone’s energy up and give people a chance to connect. I think it should be implemented at schools and workplaces too. Imagine how much happier people would be!
What did you learn in PFO that still impacts you today?
TWO THINGS. (sorry can’t pick one.)
1) To speak up. I used to rarely voice my ideas and opinions but when I got to PFO I really felt like my voice was valued. This has proved really beneficial for me in college and during my time abroad. Communication, after all, is the only way change occurs.
2) That feeling sorry for people is unproductive and belittling. (Shouts out to my buddies Brenna and Lay Lay for teaching me that.) A lot of times I think people assume that people who are different than them are missing out on certain things based on their abilities or circumstances. What we fail to see a lot of the time though is that people who are different than us appreciate things that we never noticed or have forgotten about. It’s dangerous to assume that everyone wants, enjoys, and needs the same thing. That’s where the importance of communication comes in.
What are you passionate about now?
I am most passionate about issues of housing and homelessness, particularly their intersection with race/ethnicity. I worked at HousingWorks with the Urban Ministry Center last summer, did a lot of comparative studying of housing abroad, and am now in NOLA working for a non-profit that combats housing discrimination. In a country as wealthy and privileged as ours, it is pretty despicable that many people reside on the streets, under bridges, or in shelters with terrible conditions. The rate at which housing discrimination still exists is also alarming and entirely unjust. Once I graduate, I’d like to continue doing work in this field. And maybe in my lifetime housing will be a human right in the US. I also am (still) very passionate about the power of dance.