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Building Community — Making Change

Organizing in South Philadelphia

As far back as my memories go, I have wanted to be a veterinarian. As a little girl I couldn’t believe that humans were capable of hurting creatures as defenseless as animals, and I wanted to dedicate my life to reducing this suffering. Since becoming involved in organizing, I have become more and more interested in this work, and see more of my time being dedicated to this. I view activism as a natural extension of my compassion towards animals and my commitment to fight against injustice wherever I see it.

The more I hear people’s stories, the more I realize all the hate that exists in our world, the harm that people inflict on each other everyday. Often, I become disillusioned with our entrenched apathy: in my fellow classmates, in my family, and in the community. Our natural selfishness is not the only reason for the ills in the world — we can’t forget that our economic and political systems are designed so that doing good is frequently much harder than doing bad, so that those in power stay in power. By doing nothing, we are often contributing to the suffering of others.

In a just world, people would be tolerant and understanding of each other’s differences. We wouldn’t care that someone is from another country, that they are LGBTQ, that they speak another language or with an accent, or any other difference imaginable. People would speak up when they see injustice, and wouldn’t let their own need for comfort stop them from doing what they know is right. And it would be easier to do this.

In a just world, the family that you are born into wouldn’t prevent you from achieving the same things as someone born into a more fortunate family. People wouldn’t view their lives as a competition for not only survival, but for superiority. The idea of a life of excess, where one person owns two or three mansions while in their same city hundreds sleep on the streets, would not be glorified, but would be viewed for what it truly is — greed and self-centeredness.

There are several reasons I decided to apply to Voices of Our Future, and to be honest, my desire to become a correspondent as grown as the weeks have gone by. What originally drew me to the program were the dual aspect of grassroots citizen journalism and building media and digital skills. I have always been interested in writing, and recently have gained a desire to write well-developed, well-researched journalistic pieces. I’ve also become determined to train myself in media and digital literacy, both for its benefits in the professional arena and its potential as an organizing tool. I saw this program as a rare blend of several of my passions, including an interest in technology and my activist tendencies. However, one of the things about the program that has become clearer and clearer is the community component of the experience. It has become the component that most interests me.

The idea of being part of a group that is so invested in activism, from so many different backgrounds and with diverse perspectives, committed to fostering a loving and supportive community for fellow female activists is an unusual idea for me, but that’s what makes it deeply alluring. Learning about the various levels of injustice in our global society, and especially working to correct them, can be more than just disheartening — it can actually make one depressed with the conditions and the attitudes of those around us. Having a community, and a mentor, that understands these dangers, is something every person should have access to. It is something I crave and would love the opportunity to gain through this process. I’ve love reading as many posts as I can, even though I am limited in time because it is currently my university’s final exams season, I have greatly enjoyed the experience. I hope to remain plugged into this community regardless of the outcome of this application. Though I hope I can join the program and learn even more from so many amazing women, I am thankful for everything I’ve learned thus far.

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Comments

Linda M. Ando's picture

Compassion in Action

Dear Yessi,

Wow, you have such a BIG HEART and a strong desire and commitment to create socio-economic and systemic change for a just and humane world. It is powerful that you are engaged with the global community of women via World Pulse intersecting with your academic studies to utilize your intelligence with compassion. As the Dali Lama wisely stated, "Educating the Head and Heart".

I encourage you to continue your work as a citizen journalist and find empowering & productive ways to combat injustices occurring daily. Your voice, heart and intelligence makes a difference! Thank you!

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

Yessi Writes's picture

That's High Praise

Hello Linda!

Thank you very much for your kind words. I think so many of us here have the strong desire that you mentioned -- and it has made plugging into this community an amazing experience. I will definitely stay involved, I've learned so much already, and I can't wait to see what else I find here.

Much thanks,
Yessi

Dear Yessi, I really enjoyed reading your post.Thank you for sharing your vision with us.We need many visionaries like you who can change of our society and educate people. I agree with you, time and our life experience changes our vision towards life, careers and priorities etc. As you mentioned at the beginning you wanted to be a veterinarian and now you're an organizer which is amazing. I also have some experience working as an organizer and I could say that it is very rewarding in terms of connecting with people and fighting to achieve goals. As you said, I also wish our world was was tolerant and understanding of each other, accepting everyone no matter what their skill colors is or how they speak, whatever their sexuality is and embrace each others differences rather than trying to pointing out what is wrong with them.

Keep doing what you're doing. Thank you again for sharing your vision with us.

Riya Kaphle

Yessi Writes's picture

Hi Riya

Hi Riya,

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Sometimes it's scary to see that life takes us away from our plans, but often this can turn out to be a really positive experience. I wish you luck with all your organizing work!

Best,
Yessi

Lisa T's picture

Dedicated!

Dear Yessi,

Thank you for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading about your dedication to animal activism and how that has translated into a wider perspective of activism. I especially like the line, "I view activism as a natural extension of my compassion towards animals and my commitment to fight against injustice wherever I see it." I hope you will continue to share your words and pursue your goals in journalism. I look forward to reading more!

Sincerely,
Lisa

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