As I attended the semester in NYC, I was also embarking on my first experience living in a
bigger city. Not only was I excited for the sheer magnitude of the city, I hoped to explore my
interests in creating communities that engage within, beyond, and in opposition to the status
quo. An interest that, in part, emerged from my studies that explore the powerful, healing,
and educational value in counter-hegemonic community projects/gatherings – and that is
exactly what I did.
What becomes evident, existing on the margins, is that oppression molds culture,
“health” initiatives, language, food, and entertainment – effectively power seeps into all
facets of the culture and institutions we live within. However, in response and autonomy from
capitalist (racist, sexist, queerphobic, ableist, etc) violence and oppression, I saw coalitions
form all around me; a powerful and hopeful experience. Therefore, throughout the semester, I
explored a plethora of “counter-spaces” and “disidentified spaces” – sometimes that meant
protesting or engaging in affirming therapy; other times it meant that I ate locally sourced
food and saw myself represented on a stage.
I spent a majority of my time in community and organization around food justice;
learning, gathering, distributing. These are experiences and feelings I drew from as I started
writing my Honors Project in Global Studies. It is a project in which I navigate calling for
abolishing education, as a violent institution, utilizing mutual aid initiatives and frameworks I
learned from in NYC to guide my reimagination. The semester was in many ways
unforgettable, in a very negative capacity, but the lessons and practices I took from it I will
have with me for the rest of my life.