Greetings Tzedek Blog Followers and Passers-by,
As I look back on this residency experience, my mind focuses in on the big stuff—the highlights and the storm clouds. This year was challenging in ways that required me to shed old skin that was constricting while allowing me to expand and grow that much further into, perhaps, a more whole self.
As the Tzedek cohort of 2015-2016 gathered for our first retreat, fresh perspective and energized hope opened doors to the program’s possibilities. I was hired as the resident at Warren Wilson College, my beloved alma mater, a place that integrates students into the working structure of the college.
In October, I collaboratively organized the “Coming Out Monologues” at Warren Wilson College with another Tzedek Resident, Hannah Henschel. The “Coming Out Monologues” are an annual event on campus aimed at making space for LGBT students to share their coming out stories. With the framework of the annual event and an intention to honor LGBT History Month (October), we invited a multi-generational storytelling event. We had a great turnout and were able to begin bridging the gap between individuals of different generations who claim LGBTQ identities through the joy of story-telling.
Shortly after this event, my exceptional supervisor and mentor left the college for new adventures. Although I was saddened by her departure, this situation provided challenge and growth to my year, and I will be ever grateful for it. I took on the responsibility for supervising the student crew, acted as the primary advocate for supporting students through Title IX cases, and gained invaluable lessons in learning to work in an isolated setting.
The winter of 2016 was jam-packed with activism and education from the Creating Change Conference in Chicago to HK on J in Raleigh, to a week of being in shared space with Mandy Carter. This was a winter to remember! Being in community with such amazing activists and learning from one another truly drove home for me the fact that we are all in this work together. We are all fighting for something, and we need each other to get it done.
After the busy activism-focused winter, spring came with many prompts for me to be shedding some old skin, to make room for growth, and to be open to new possibilities. In my work at Warren Wilson, the spring offered deeper engagement opportunities from advocating for myself and others to being in conversations around grief, recovery, healing, and calling. I attended the LGBT in the South Conference with a few Warren Wilson students. I was present as several amazing students, who I have come to know and respect, graduated from college. This spring has been marked by budding opportunities and exciting change, perhaps all too quickly to have the time to take a moment to reflect on all that has happened in this past year. The buds are opening and summer is just about here.
Through July and August, I will be wrapping up my work at the Center for Gender and Relationships and transitioning to two exciting part-time positions. With much gratitude for the Council for Independent College’s NetVUE Program and a grant rewarded to Warren Wilson College, I will be working as the Spiritual Life Program Coordinator on campus. I will also be working at Our VOICE, the Buncombe County sexual assault crisis intervention and prevention agency, as the Volunteer Coordinator. I am grateful for the opportunity to pair together two incredible positions that powerfully speak to my interests, skill set, and place in the movement. I am wrapping up this year with a lot of memories and plenty of lessons under my belt.