The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
Americorps and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
I’ve only been working at my job for a few weeks, and there is a lot more to figure out before I get in the swing of things I guess, but so far it has been great. I work downtown, “in the loop” for an organization called the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). ICIRR is a nonprofit that is basically a coalition of organizations who work all over Illinois in Immigrant and Refugee Communities. It’s really cool, I’ve never worked for an organization this big before or this involved with politics. It’s definitely new.
I’m actually working through Americorps as a Uniting America fellow. Our branch of ICIRR is focused on working in communities in Illinois where there is a high concentration of both native Illinois Americans and recent migrants, and the Uniting America program works towards creating a dialogue between these two groups and building a shared sense of community.
Like I said, I work at the main office downtown, where I’m in charge of social media and communication. Every week I upload posts from other fellows on the blog, look for ways to improve the website, look into volunteer data tracking software, publish a monthly newsletter highlighting things going on throughout the program, take photos and video, and edit both. It’s really fun, but like I said I’m still learning a lot. Well anyway, I currently have a cold and I’m exhausted, so I will update more and add photos of my office later.
I moved to Chicago! AND have a job!
So sorry I haven’t updated in a while. So I’m breaking this up in to a few different blog posts so its easier to process.
As I’m sure you guessed by the title I recently moved to Chicago! Most of my summer was spent applying to jobs which is one of the most discouraging and thankless task I’ve probably ever done. I had been visiting cities like Chicago and Memphis all summer researching places and networking trying to meet people that are hiring and finally in late September it started to seem like it was paying off.
My biggest advice for anyone is to not be afraid to do walk ins or a ”cold call”. I can’t even tell you how many emails, resumes, and cover letters I feel like I just sent into the abyss of cyberspace never to be heard from again. By just walking in to the offices of places that I was interested in, it gave me a few advantages.
First I could right away meet with someone and they would actually have a face to match with an application. It’s easy to ignore or forget about a phone call or email but a face gives an immediate connection. Not only that but I could actually learn more about an open position that I’m looking at and even inquire about other opportunities and organizations if it seemed like I wasn’t going to be a good fit for the job.
The way this actually worked with me was I visited the offices of a non-profit my friend had told me about called the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. I had already applied with them online and called them to see if they got my application, but since I was already visiting Chicago to network I figured I would visit their office just to give it an extra shot.
So I walked in without an appointment or anything and met with someone in no time. Sure enough they had not received my application or at least read it and the position had been filled. Luckily for me they were hiring for a few positions and I got the information and applied later that day. The FOLLOWING DAY I got a call back seeing if I could interview that very week. I did it went great and then my flight back to Nashville was that day so I returned home wondering if I got the job.
Two weeks later, I got another interview and found out I got the job as a social media coordinator! So exciting!! But I was supposed to start in a week. That gave me 7 days to pack all my stuff, move it to Chicago, find an apartment, get unpacked , and be ready for work on Halloween. Needless to say it was a lot of driving, packing, and craziness but it obviously worked out and here I am, in the amazing city if Chicago,
I will post later to tell you guys more about how work and life has been, I’ve been here for around 3 weeks now. It’s good to start blogging again.
“The Western States nervous under the beginning change.
Texas and Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, New Mexico,
Arizona, California. A single family moved from the land.
Pa borrowed money from the bank, and now the bank wants
the land. The land company—that’s the bank when it has land
—wants tractors, not families on the land. Is a tractor bad? Is
the power that turns the long furrows wrong? If this tractor
were ours it would be good—not mine, but ours. If our tractor
turned the long furrows of our land, it would be good.
Not my land, but ours. We could love that tractor then as
we have loved this land when it was ours. But the tractor
does two things—it turns the land and turns us off the land.
There is little difference between this tractor and a tank.
The people are driven, intimidated, hurt by both. We must think
One man, one family driven from the land; this rusty car
creaking along the highway to the west. I lost my land, a
single tractor took my land. I am alone and bewildered.
And in the night one family camps in a ditch and another
family pulls in and the tents come out. The two men squat
on their hams and the women and children listen. Here is the
node, you who hate change and fear revolution. Keep these
two squatting men apart; make them hate, fear, suspect each
other. Here is the anlarge of the thing you fear. This is the
zygote. For here “I lost my land” is changed; a cell is split
and from its splitting grows the thing you hate—“We lost our
land.” The danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and
perplexed as one. And from this first “we” there grows a still
more dangerous thing: “I have a little food” plus “I have
none.” If from this problem the sum is “We have a little
food,” the thing is on its way, the movement has direction.
Only a little multiplication now, and this land, this tractor are
ours. The two men squatting in a ditch, the little fire, the side-
meat stewing in a single pot, the silent, stone-eyed women;
behind, the children listening with their souls to words their
minds do not understand. The night draws down. The baby
has a cold. Here, take this blanket. It’s wool. It was my mother’s
blanket—take it for the baby. This is the thing to bomb.
This is the beginning—from “I” to “we.”
If you who own the things people must have could understand
this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate
causes from results, if you could know Paine, Marx,
Jefferson, Lenin, were results, not causes, you might survive.
But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes
you forever into “I,” and cuts you off forever from the “we.”
The Western States are nervous under the begining
change. Need is the stimulus to concept, concept to action.
A half-million people moving over the country; a million
more restive, ready to move; ten million more feeling the
And tractors turning the multiple furrows in the vacant land.”
― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
(Updates from my life soon to come)
When our laws, our leaders, or our government are out of alignment with our ideals, then the dissent of ordinary Americans may prove to be one of the truest expressions of patriotism,
This is an amazing story about a Nun who’s commitment to Peace is incredible. This is true religion without politics. While possibly a little extreme, it is still peaceful rebellion and protest. I really hope she doesn’t get 16 years for this.
This is a really great article but slightly long read that looks into the liberal psyche and why so many are backlashing against the short comings of Obama, despite his surprising list of successes. Overall it is a really great article that I agree with quite a bit.
It always seems impossible, until it is done.
This is actually really awesome and I might use it soon, bc I’m starting to want chick-fil-a again. The website calculates how much you spent at Chick-fil-a and then you can off set your conservative ways with a donation a pro-gay rights group. It’s like penance for liberals or those carbon emissions waiver things.
A Response to Reince Priebus Calling Harry Reid A Dirty Liar and Saying the Left no Longer Believes in the American Dream from Esquire.com
Of course, Priebus now leads a party that has spent the last four decades ensuring that almost nobody can be a “union electrician” any more, and spent the previous couple of decades deregulating things so that a) the average “realtor” is greeting people at Wal-Mart, and b) “moms and dads” lost the houses that the realtor once sold them because gigantic banks gambled away their equity and their mortgages turned out to written in Klingon. And, as for the American dream, I think the son of a single mother who works his way through Harvard Law and gets elected to the U.S. Senate and then to the presidency despite being named Barack Hussein Obama, and despite the fact that doughpops like Reince Priebus are in positions of power understands it better than the runner-up in a state senate race from eight years ago.
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/harry-reid-romney-tax-returns-11397081#ixzz22nDKoyGY
Also I promise I will be posting more soon.
This summer I finally had the chance to experiment with cooking some more. One of my last few weeks that I stayed in Memphis before moving back home my friend from high school came by to visit and stay for a while. Unfortunately this happened right when we both began to run out of money. So I can proudly say all but one of these (the chicken Marsala) are from that time period when we were scrounging around my kitchen. That’s also why a lot of it is pasta
Book review: And the Band Played On
Im finally trying to keep blogging and I thought I would add In a book review. I’m guessing it’s been at least 2 years since I wrote a book review and almost a year since I’ve actually finished a book (in my defense I tried reading four seperate books at once, had a huge thesis plus the rest of my senior year, and of course all the family things that were goin on). Anyway excuses excuses. So a year ago, during my internship with the GlobeMed National Office, we tried starting up a reading group and the first book we chose was a behemoth of a text called “And the Band Played On”. Although it took me a year to read, when I was reading it it was hard to out down. The book was amazing. Through what must have been one of the most in depth reporting ever done, Randy Shilts describes the politics and medicine behind th Aids epidemic from the very beginning. He covers all levels. Members of congress, medical researchers, doctors, lawyers, members of at risk communities, community organizers… Literally everyone having to do with the epidimic was represented. “And the Band Played On” was an amazing book. I have a deeper understanding of the tragedies if this horrible disease and also the dangers of politicization of public health safety. Anyone interested in epidemics, history, or politics should definitely read this book.
Weekend wedding in Knoxville
This past weekend I went to Knoxville to my cousin John’s wedding. He is probably on of my closer relatives and I had the gray privilege and honor of being in the wedding party. Me and John practically grew up together, goi on shared family vacations, spending every christmas together and every other thanksgiving together. I can even remember my first memories of Memphis going down to visit him in the summertime and going to the zoo and museums. We even went to Vanderbilt basketball camp together. Needless to say it was exciting and also strange to see he was actually getting married. I mean we aren’t that old yet are we?
The wedding was very well done and the bride and her family were great people and they will both be an amazing husband and wife. So John and Devon if you are reading this, congratulations to both of you and I’m sure you both will be very happy together.
The wedding was held on a boat that drove down the the Tennessee river so the scenery was awesome. This had actually been the first time I had seen any of knoxville outside of the University of Tennessee campus and the infamous strip. Downtown Knoxville and the rest of the city are awesome and surprisingly hip as one of the other groomsmen noted. It was also just close enough to the smokies to start having some back packing stores which made me really want to start doing that again. Who knows maybe I will this summer.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- They understand that happiness is a choice, and consciously and methodically create their own happiness, while others hope happiness will find them.
- They have clarity and certainty about what they want and don’t want for their life. They visualize and plan their best reality while others are merely spectators of life. They have identified their core values – what is important to them – and they do their best to live a life which is reflective of these values.
- They rarely complain because they know it’s a waste of energy. All complaining does is put the complainer in a negative state of mind.
- They are fearful like everyone else, but they are not controlled or limited by their fears – they face them and grow beyond them over time.
- While they are not necessarily more talented than the majority, they always find ways to maximize their potential. They get more out of themselves by exercising their talents and their passions. In other words, they use what they have more effectively, which leads to long-term personal achievement and happiness.
- While many people are reactive, they are proactive. They take action in pursuit of their goals and the things that make them happy.
- While many people are pleasure junkies that avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, truly happy people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough situations that others typically avoid.
- They sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term happiness. They are more interested in something being effective than they are in something being easy. While everyone else is looking for the quickest shortcut, they look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.
- They aren’t as concerned with what others want for them as they are with what they know is right for themselves. They are happy to swim against the tide, to do what most won’t. They are not people pleasers and they don’t need constant approval.
- They are generous and kind, and take pleasure in helping others achieve happiness too. They are happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory – they share the goodness every chance they get.
- They practice what they preach. They don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality. They do what they need to do, for themselves and their loved ones – for the sake of long-term happiness and success.
I’d recommend reading them all. Sometimes it’s things like this that serve as great reminders to always understand that life is what you make of it. Enjoy.