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Social Sciences and Policy Institute Requires Self-Work

Author: Gracey Loucks


For two weeks me and 4 other interns participated in YAASPA’s social sciences and policy institution; within these two weeks we covered a myriad of current, somewhat controversial, yet all the more important topics around systematic problems embedded in today’s society. The group of youth we worked with were all minorities or POC’s so the topic we wanted to emphasize the most was identity and what that means to you as an individual. Many of our guest speakers came in a spoke about their identities whether that was through experience, an identity wheel, or even as they presented their passions and the work they have done, to which they pride themselves on. Through conversations, self awareness/discovery, and yoga we developed relationships, gained diverse perspectives, and began to resonate with ideas around our own self definement. In doing so we discovered our own boundaries, and explored the political and social side of our world. For me boundaries around whiteness and where I am on the scale became prevalent as generalizations are used, and to be comfortable with these generalizations or even in the face of stereotypes made about an individual, takes some self work and identification to recognize and be comfortable in who you are; this way while having conversations we don’t have to dance around topics or turn a conversation into an argument, we can face societies issues without fragility. This was especially important to me because I am immensely passionate about changing our current world in a way that benefits the whole rather than feeds into the system that caters to the privilege; by hearing differing perspectives my prior ideologies were reexamined. I became more self aware of the privilege that I attain over others, which brought me to the conclusion that privilege shouldn’t be abolished but instead shared and equalized across all people no matter the race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation of said person, this is the conclusion I and many others came to after taking into consideration the multiple testamates acquired from guest speakers and peers within the institution causing me to ponder solutions to obtain the goal of peace, safety, and equality to become an everlasting reality.

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