Extinction In Our Own Lives

In the movie, The Giver, the little girl has the stuffed elephant that they call a hippo. Are we heading in that direction? Is this just another sign that if we don’t work as a global community, we’re all doomed? I realize I don’t have the power to change or fix this, but I can add to raising awareness so we translate this example into conversations that create solutions for smaller problems in our own communities. What is the version of an extinct Rhino in our lives? Can we personally do anything to better the situation?

This article discusses the last remaining male white Rhino in the world.  Essentially, this is the end of the species of a very large animal. The news of this should be hitting home a lot more heavier than it is. Here is the entire article from ABC News.

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Project Kinect: Norm:al Africa

Project Kinect was launched in October as the Social Change Firm for the Modern World.  Our first project is a partnership with two women in Uganda to help their organization, Norm:al Africa, get off the ground.  Here is how we are doing….

Project Kinect launched the United States Norm:al Africa t-shirt campaign in mid-October. We have begun to create some traction and are excited as the next month will be fantastic.  If you want to learn more or donate, here is the Go Fund Me page.   Additionally, here is the website and Facebook Page.

Here is a video about the creator of the t-shirt campaign and why she wanted to start it.

Thank you to everyone who has endorsed us.

If you want to help or partner with the campaign in any way besides donating, please email info@projectkinect.com.

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Frustrated By Your Apathy

So I have recently become reattached to Alanis Morissette. In high school, her album Jagged Little Pill was the best album ever. Now, in my thirties, I’m realizing that it is even better than I remembered.  Now I have a history of life, analytical skills to read through things, and of course agency to make my opinion on why I believe something to be so.

What really gets me about this album currently is the song, ‘All I Really Want’. Coming out of a progressive grad program, and having a pent-up-frustration because I am no longer having daily conversations about all these issues that matter, this song vocalizes all of my most skin deep feelings.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of ways to express them lately but this song is helping.  Here are some of the songs lyrics that speak loud…

“consumed by the chill of solitary”

“frustrated by your apathy”

“to find a soul mate, someone else to catch this drift'”

“a place to find some common ground”

Most importantly, I currently think we all need to just be better. We must be better in order to establish sustainability for humankind as well as all living things on this planet.  We have to give a shit.  Two articles have come up recently that support my thought process.  One is “The Day a Dozen Parents and Children Killed a Baby Shark for a Selfie“. The other was a recent blog post by the Huffington Post entitled, “Ferguson is All of Us“. Both do a great job of sharing how we all, no matter what we already currently do, can do better.

 

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Finishing Grad School

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been a couple weeks since I received my hood and diploma from the Clinton School of Public Service.  Two years of my life spent in Little Rock, AR where I learned so much more about myself, created a positive social change family, and became more conscious of what I want to do next in my life.  I also won an award for my work done in Johannesburg, South Africa working with the homeless community. This link is a blog on some of my accomplishments here at the Clinton School.

 

Here are some of the pictures from that weeks events.  All photos were done by Jacob Slaton

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Class 8 Final Words

I was asked to create a video for our class that was shared at a reception the night before graduation.  This video gives a small example of how amazing, intelligent, funny, and passionate these people are.  I will cherish the last two years with them forever in my soul.  I hope you enjoy.

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My work in Cape Town

The Clinton School just released my work on the blog.  Here is the beginning of it.

Life for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) people living in Africa is difficult.  Recently countries such as Uganda, Nigeria, and Malawi have created laws that more severely persecute these people.  In response, South Africa has committed to aid persecuted people in LGBTI communities.  Clinton School student Gregg Potter (’14)  partnered with the Legal Resource Center (LRC) of South Africa to assess how the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) can better meet this commitment.

Potter arrived at the LRC Cape Town, South Africa office in early November 2013 to meet with asylum seekers rejected by the DHA.  Refugees seek LRC assistance to appeal their rejections from DHA.  First, consultations with asylum applicants established discrepancies between why DHA rejected them and what their individual stories were.  Then, appeal arguments, or affidavits, were created for each refugee describing the lack of compliance DHA has with international and South African refugee law.

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That Fast, Huh? Reflecting on my time in Little Rock

It’s shocking that my time here at the Clinton School of Public Service is almost over.  I am in complete disbelief that in a month, this life changing journey abruptly ends.  The experiences I have had and the people I have met have changed me down to the core.  I’m an excellent juggler when if comes to emotions, change, tasks, and other forward movement details but this post-graduation moment has stifled me.  I’m finding an enormous struggle in moving forward while preparing myself to say good-bye.  I’m still applying for jobs, and thinking about my next steps, but I am dragging my feet.

I suppose one way to make this transition easier on me is to reflect on my time at the Clinton School as well as in Little Rock; A city I never thought I would live in.  These entries are dedicated to remind me of what I have accomplished here while I get to share the experience with an audience.

I arrived into Little Rock on a steamy humid Thursday in August, 2012.  My travel companion was my friend Dina and with a carload of goods, I unpacked into a residence that I had only seen in pictures. That Sunday orientation began and I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of strength and experience my classmates had.  How would I make my way through this social change jungle against these powerhouses?  Well, I soon learned that I was not against them; I was with them.

By Labor Day, I had felt close enough to my classmates to invite them over for a BBQ.  Sara and I hosted the first annual A Very Dickie Stephens Labor Day. Dickie Stephens is our imaginary child.  That is all you really need to know about that. (he he) Here are some pictures from the event.

Grilling for the Class

A Very Dickey Stephen's Labor Day An ice-cream machine magically appeared

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Once school was in session, there was no stopping our class.  We began  our first field projects. The Clinton School requires three field service projects. Our first project is a team project for the first entire year. My team was to perform a needs assessment of the legal issues that low-income Arkansans had.  This is the picture from our first day.

First Day Practicum

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I was soon elected to the Student Government Association (SGA) as the Community Liaison. In this position, I was to coordinate volunteer opportunities for the students, correspond between the city and the school, and work on community outreach.  In this position, many large projects were produced.  One was a day long roundtable conversation event with a ninth grade class from a public service high school in Houston. Another was day of service in the Spring where we complied over 200 service hours.  The largest project was a city-wide Sandy relief drive.  I am most proud of this during my Community Liaison experience.  Here are a couple pictures from the drive as well as a newscast featuring me and the event.

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Meetin President Clinton

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Everyone I have had the chance to meet here, Congresswoman NancyPelosi, Senator John McCain, Fran Drescher, has been so amazing.  Still though, my favorite was getting to meet former President Bill Clinton.  I have met him additional times, one being in South Africa, but the first time can never be replicated.

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mud run

Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

My favorite moments from the fall was Halloween, the Mud Run, getting to introduce speakers, and Movember.  Two classmates of mine and I got up early and decided to get full of mud in fifty degree weather.  It was glorious!!!  When introducing speakers, I was able to bring my personality to the experience.  It was the Movember event that allowed me to fill the void I had from not performing.  I MC’d the event.  We raised a good chunk of change and had a terrific time.

Movember

COMING SOON….. Spring and preparing for South Africa

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Impact Conference Workshop

This is from the Clinton School of Public Service blog. You can also find more information about the Impact Conference at this site.

Student Gregg Potter Presents at IMPACT Conference

The weekend of February 28th, Gregg Potter (’14) recently presented three workshops at the IMPACT Conference in Valparaiso, Indiana.

The IMPACT conference featured over 90 workshops spanning all levels beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Workshop categories spanned everything from alternative breaks and service learning to leadership and professional development and faith in service. The conference drew more than 700 students, administrators, national service organizations, and non-profit leaders.

“It was a thrilling weekend full of different stimulations,” Potter said. “I sat in on one workshop that described the process of bringing the Hunger Games competition to a campus as a great fundraiser.”

Potter’s workshop was titled “Exploring the use of Games, Liberating Structures, and Technology to Maximize Engagement in Your Organizations,” co-facilitated with Jaco Roets, a graduate student from Witz University in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In order to allow the information to be public for everyone, a Facebook page was created to record all the information shared during the workshop.  Check it out here.

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GoLO Episode 1: Defining GoLO with Wine Winners

Episode 1 was so fun. We discussed a lot on this show.  Here are some of the topics and stories mentioned in the show.

First, we watched Panti Bliss give her speech at the theatre in Ireland.  Here is her speech.

 

This video and conversation mentioned the Open Letter to RuPaul written by Dina Martinez.  Definitely check it out.

When the issue of race came up, an episode of Designing Women was referenced.  Here is the specific episode and you can judge for yourself whether we have come much further since 1987.

We also talked about a movie, Living Out Loud. Here is the dance scene we mentioned when talking about being re-born and the magnitude these moments have on our future. The movie features Danny Devito, Queen Latifah, and Holly Hunter.

 

Jenna referenced an article by Peggy McIntosh.  Here is a link to her paper, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack.  Another article was suggested too if you’re interested. Here is the link to Camara Phyllis Jone’s (MD, MPH, PhD) article, Level’s of Racism: A Theoretic Framework and a Gardner’s Tale

I hope you loved the show!  Feel free to comment or add other relatable references.

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Marriage Equality on a Global Scale

This video done by Get Up! Australia shows perfectly in just a couple minutes what love, marriage, and partnership is.  You can also find it on UP Worthy!

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