Phase 1 of my adult life began at an Americorps program in Austin, TX. This would prove to be the toughest, most life changing 9 months of my life. The experience opened my eyes to a whole different side of America that up until that moment I had been privileged enough or perhaps sheltered enough to not know existed, depending on how you flip the coin. I have learned that sheltering and privilege are part of the very reason why these social justice problems still exist in our country. If the more privileged classes pretend social problems do not exist and that equality abounds or worse yet refuse to talk about or become uncomfortable when these issues are brought up change cannot happen. Unfortunately, we need those people to take a stand and create an uproar. We all know money is power and without it it can be very hard to draw enough attention and awareness to a problem to even begin to make a change. Too often in our country the people going through the worst social ills do not have the power, resources or time to make the change without someone helping them out and bringing greater attention to the issues. For me Austin would be my eye opener to just how much needed to be changed in our American society. It was also the first place where I experienced what I perceived as personal failure, burnout and began to really question who I was and what I was doing.
1. A person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died.
2. The remainder of a group of people or things.
3. A person who copes well with difficulties in their life.
4. In Law: A joint tenant who has the right to the whole estate on the other’s death.
In American culture the title of survivor is often worn like a badge of honor, to have survived is to have somehow beat the odds and won at something in life that you otherwise should not have. However, beyond the celebratory graces of “surviving” people rarely delve deeper to examine or learn for themselves what it in fact means to survive. Is surviving the end or just the beginning?