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  • Johns Hopkins University

  • Center for Social Concern

  • CIIP 2021

  • Economic Development

  • The Franciscan Center, Inc.

  • Impacts

    This Impact is private

    CIIP Blogs (Summer 2021)

    Throughout the TAG workshop, my mouse hovered over the “raise hand” button as I wavered between taking space and making space. The feeling was familiar. Three summers ago, during my first CIIP orientation, I justified keeping my hand down by telling myself that I didn’t know enough. I was just a rising sophomore then, barely keeping up with all the new information about the nonprofit sector and cultural competency and Baltimore’s history. I couldn’t form my thoughts fast enough to share them before the topic changed. The next CIIP orientation, I participated somewhat more, but only relative to the previous summer. I told myself that, because I was a Peer Mentor, I should give as much space as possible to the new interns, that it was their turn to build community through the vulnerable conversations we were having. If I was being honest with myself though, my reticence was coming from a place of anxiety rather than self-awareness.

    The same was true during this past week of orientation, especially during the TAG workshop. Given the virtual format of TAG this time, so many of the discussions unfolded in unexpected ways that I had a new observation or reflection always on the tip of my tongue. But that’s where they stayed, as I retreated my mouse from the “raise hand” button over and over again, afraid to be inarticulate and forfeiting my turn to take space.

    Debriefing the workshop with my mentees afterwards, I realized I had company in this sentiment. One of my mentees explained that, as an East Asian-American woman, she felt unsure when it was appropriate for her to speak in these spaces, because her identity often made her peripheral to these conversations. That was exactly it for me too. Where does my voice fit in, if at all, when I am adjacent to so much privilege? Or am I just internalizing the stereotype of the passive Asian woman who is supposed to shrink herself? Throughout orientation, these tensions were constantly wrestling in the back of my mind. Now as I reflect on them, I am reminded of something Clarissa said at the YNOT lot vigil for the victims of the Atlanta shooting. She spoke to a similar internal conflict and eventually concluded that, yes, it is okay to take up more space as an Asian American woman because so much of that space has never been claimed. The space is waiting for us, whether we show up as leaders or allies. Even as I write this, I can feel myself wanting to delete this reflection, or at least put it on private view, because the thought of taking up space is profoundly uncomfortable for me. But slowly—very slowly—I am unlearning.

    Made an impact between 06/07/2021 and 06/11/2021 with Johns Hopkins University

    This Impact is private

    This Impact is private

    This Impact is private

    This Impact is private

    This Impact is private

    This Impact is private

    This Impact is private

    This Impact is private