It’s been a heartbreaking and tumultuous week in America. As I retreated into the warm embrace of Netflix and cute animal videos on the internet I reflected on how one of the many benefits of my privilege is the ability to stop thinking about systemic violence and racism when it all becomes too overwhelming. Social workers are guided by the NASW Code of Ethics, which has social justice as one of its core values. The emphasis on social justice and looking at people in the context of their environment is one of the primary reasons I chose social work over other disciplines. I’m hoping for peace, healing and radical change in our country, but have been realizing that hope is not enough. Myself and other graduate students in the College of Social Work have started discussing how we can create a more active dialogue among our class. What I’m doing down at Southpoint has also colored how I’m thinking about these issues and considering the type of social worker I want to be.
This week I took the teens to the OSU Urban Arts Space for our first learning partnership session. They staff laid out a variety of materials for the teens to explore and use on canvas. It was so much fun getting to see what the teens created when given the space to express themselves on their own terms. During our time at the gallery we discussed racial tensions at their high schools, Ciara’s recent wedding dress, what forms of art they prefer to express themselves with, whether or not there is a feud between Beyonce and Rihanna, and the most effective way to attached googly eyes to a canvas. We had a lot of fun and definitely one of the major high points of my summer.
I just finished the second fitness class we’ve hosted down at the Southpoint Community Center. Student fitness instructors from the RPAC have volunteered to come down and teach to parents and teens. This was our first weekend class, and it was such a nice way to wrap this week up. It was fun to see the adults and kids try something totally new. It reminded me of the first time I ever did yoga. I resisted it for so long, for some reason writing off as too frou frou for me. When I finally did it I saw what all the hype was about – being able to center yourself and connect to the present moment is a powerful thing.