The Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service is excited to present the second annual GWupstart Changemaker Week!
During Changemaker Week, February 22nd- February 26th, we encourage the GW community to learn, reflect and put into the action the information and resources that will be shared. Change making begins to happen when we learn, reflect and put one small action into practice and turn it into a habit.
What can you expect?
Starting on Monday, February 22nd, you will receive a variety of resources (ie. videos, podcasts, articles, service opportunities, etc.) on a particular social issue, directly to your inbox. At the end of each day our student changemakers will go Live on Instagram to reflect on the content shared every day.
On Friday, February 26th 2pm EST, we invite you to our final event. The Black Heritage Celebration Committee 2021 and GWupstart at The Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement & Public Service invite you to be inspired as we are "In Conversation with Nicole Cardoza".
***You will automatically receive the zoom session information for Friday by since you have registered for Changemaker Week.***
Diana Aguilera-Jandres wrote on February 26th, 2021
I enjoyed today’s Greet and Meet with Nicole Cardoza. She is amazing! I felt the hour flew fast, and there is so much we need to unlearn. Most of the conversation centered around healing, creating boundaries, and reminding ourselves that we are part of the community. We are interdependent, and this pandemic proved how communities of color still face many difficulties. At the same time, we need to embrace wellness and apply it with our peers, friends, family, and co-workers. Also, we talked about how we learned about wellness. For me, it was because my diabetes neuropathy was slowly draining my body and mind. A friend introduced me to meditation when he saw my pain was getting worse. It took me a long time to understand and slowly unlearn so many things. I am so grateful for finding more spaces where can have meaningful and powerful conversations, unlearn and relearn new approaches.
Charity Eddleman wrote on February 26th, 2021
I really enjoyed the content on education today. Particularly the article "How School Funding Can Help Repair the Legacy of Segregation". I found this article to be particularly insightful on the many ways this country's history still affects black communities in ways that most people don't realize. It also sheds a light on the harmful narrative that whether a school is good or bad is determined by the students who attend it. Another point that I found interesting is that it isn't all about funding but it's also about what the money is spent on. The article proposes several solutions to address the disparities in school funding, including federal grants, changing the way state/local governments fund schools, and a shift in culture. Something that I learned and plan to do more research on is ways in which some state/local governments have found ways to make education more equitable for students in low-income areas.
Ebony Russ wrote on February 25th, 2021
I enjoyed Brené Brown | Daring Classrooms | SXSWedu 2017 video.
I continue to learn about the importance of "unapologetically" bringing one’s “whole- self” to the table. Being authentic is courageous. This is what I teach my students. As an African-American, Woman Professor, I think this is incredibly important, two-fold. First, for myself, working in spaces that were historically not created with me in mind can be challenging and even more challenging for students, and other staff that look like me. Bringing my authentic self to the classroom and helping others understand my identity, can be both rewarding and challenging for the recipients and this is the point. The academy is a space for learning and my presence in this space is a critical component of the learning process. Second, when students see someone who looks like them in an elite position, they begin to understand that they MATTER even more because they have been represented in a positive manner and begin to understand that they have access to power as well.
Madalyn News wrote on February 24th, 2021
I thoroughly enjoyed the Public Health content for Changemaker Week today! It is clear from the content that every social issue relates to public health in some way, but one intersection that stuck out to me is systemic racism as a public health crisis. This is also especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionately impacting minority communities, both in terms of case and death rates and economic and social repercussions. Like the Washington Post article mentioned, Black and Latino families in DC are more likely to report being food insecure due to the pandemic than white families. Even as COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out, systemic racism, implicit bias, and the historical mistreatment of minority communities by healthcare providers and public health researchers has led to valid mistrust and vaccine hesitancy among the communities most devastated by the pandemic. The worst part is that these issues and systemic racism aren't new--the pandemic has just shed light on them.
However, there is much change to be made! I think that everyone has a role to play in ensuring healthy communities, since decisions in every sector impact individual and community health. I think if experts not in the public health sector became more engaged in public health and consulted public health experts when making decisions, our communities would be healthier. For example, changing the minimum wage is a public health issue because income dictates where one lives, what one eats, etc. which all impact health.
Mary Delmonte wrote on February 24th, 2021
"There are intersections between public health and other social issues. What intersections did you notice in the content provided? What roles can experts not in the public health sector play in ensuring healthy communities? "
The resource, "Health and Educational Equity" is a great example of this type of intersection. Through my time at GW studying public health, one of the major lessons I have learned is how important self-advocacy when it comes to your health. People who have higher levels of education are more equip to advocate for their own health. This type of advocacy can look like standing up for quality healthcare or even just insisting that you are sick if a provider tells you there is nothing wrong. Beyond advocating for your own health, having some baseline medical education will allow a person to better understand adhere to the treatments they are prescribed. Public health interventions often focus on education-based approaches for these reasons.
Will Brummett wrote on February 24th, 2021
"There are intersections between public health and other social issues. What intersections did you notice in the content provided? What roles can experts not in the public health sector play in ensuring healthy communities?"
Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw developed the theory of intersectionality initially as a groundbreaking theory for the legal field over 30 years ago, but from what today's resources have shown me, the public health field perhaps embodies the importance of intersectionality in approach and issues better than most disciplines. From pushing us to approach gun violence as a public health issue to helping us connect how climate change displacement is tied to public health outcomes liked increase hunger and the spread of disease, today's topic has broadened my understanding of what public health focuses on, who it serves, and how we all do facets of public health work, even in seemingly unrelated fields (like education, infrastructure development, city planning, etc.). The video on 'What is Public Health?' was especially effective in succinctly and creatively pointed out to me how my own work supporting nonprofits focused on education and economic equity can be considered tangential public health work.
I found the recognition of racism as a public health issue by both the Harvard Health Publishing and the American Medical Association moving due to their influence, but their recognition was not groundbreaking to me.
For me, what stood out the most were the statistics about food desserts and hunger in D.C., especially in light of COVID-19. The idea that black families are 13.5 more times likely, and Latino households were 6.5 times more likely, than white households to report they didn't have enough food to eat is an alarming discrepancy, but to see that the reason that Wards 7 and 8 have a combined total of 3 grocery stores for over 140,000 people was truly shocking. Then to find out it is due to the lack of 'business sense' for grocery stores to be placed where the average income is under $35,000 made me furious, as the housing segregation, racial discrimination, and economic inequality all clearly contribute to this present and urgent public health danger. I am hopeful that D.C. is slowly trying to approach more issues with a public health frame (see the new Building Blocks program which is taking a public health approach to gun violence in the city), but more folks like myself and more city officials and experts, in general, need to see our work as intricately tied to public health. Today's lesson taught me that public health workers are truly changemakers, and that all of us as changemakers are most likely doing public health work directly or indirectly in some fashion.
Sarah Birmingham wrote on February 24th, 2021
Sustainability & Environmental Justice! Two important issues for changemakers to tackle, and also highly intersectional with so many other others. Thanks for all the great resources shared on Day 2! I had a fun time with calculating my carbon footprint (thoughts below) but am also excited to start listening to some new podcasts and reinvigorate some sustainable lifestyle practices that I've not kept up with too well this past year.
What action can you take to reduce your carbon footprint?
My carbon footprint awareness could use some work! I know my food intake and transportation footprints are fairly low, but I realized I have no oversight of water, gas, electric bills (my landlord handles those). This got me thinking (or re-thinking I should say) about how much of those utilities I consume... and questioning how much I really know about the products I purchase and organizations I support when shopping. I've known about ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle for a while, and have made changes in my life that have stuck with me. But lifestyle changes can and should be gradual and reevaluated, along with other ways to be an environmental justice advocate that aren't just changing your personal habits. Thanks for the resources, I'm excited to start some podcasts and learn more!
Rochelle Yancey wrote on February 24th, 2021
Health and Education is important for children in schools. There are children that the only meal they receive are in school. Some children can't concentrate because they have no food in their belly.
It is important to have school-based health centers to support the students needs. It's also important for parents to learn about healthy choices an provide resources for the families.
Lahayla Curiel wrote on February 23rd, 2021
What other commitments in engagement and lifestyle changes do you think we should make as a campus community and within our personal lives?
Listening to the A Sustainable Mind podcast, specifically the episode "People of Color in the Outdoor Community with José González of Latino Outdoors," González speaks on the importance of creating a space for people of color to explore the outdoors in order to connect with nature. He calls attention to the general sentiment of uneasiness of people of color in outdoor spaces because of the history of racist segregation and white dominance in recreational spaces. Creating space for people of color in nature is extremely important in not only fostering community, but doing so in a safe space where people do not feel "othered" for taking time to enjoy the outdoors and have a connection to environmental sustainability. On campus I think it would be beneficial to community cultivation and overall individual wellbeing (by facilitating agency in practices regarding self care) to have programs or some sort of initiative to increase engagement between people of color and the natural environment.
Alicia Cagle wrote on February 23rd, 2021
What action can you take to reduce your carbon footprint?
My carbon footprint was at 30 tons CO2/year and 64% better than average, which I'm sure is impacted by the pandemic/less travel/moving to a new place that does not rely on gas for a heating and cooking source.
Sustainability and remaining environmentally conscious is something I try to be mindful about in my day-to-day and try to re-assess regularly for our household, whether it is supporting businesses with transparent environmental practices or purchasing more environmentally friendly products. Having recently moved to Alexandria, I'm still assessing things I can do in my new town, such as using more clean or renewable energy for electricity. Some additional things I can do are do a better job at maintaining my car and get a bike (when the weather is nicer) so I can take that to my closest metro station to take public transit to GW.
The content on sustainability for Changemaker week is something I'll be revisiting to reflect on how I can improve my impact further!