WNS 344: Social Activism Day 2
Hearts to Nourish Hope GED and DORM classes
SECTION 1: ORID
In the GED class, we covered several different topics about their lives. After introductions with our attached stereotypes and how we perceived ourselves. We talked about “Shopping While Black.” Many of the students could resonate with these issues but did not attribute it to their race, but rather the store in general. One student, Chazz, recalled being followed in a store by several different employees and unabashedly on their parts. At the end of our class time, one student asked us, as college students, how it felt to not be forced into selling drugs for money.
In the DORM class, we looked at the Justin Ford Ted Talk on the “Pedagogy of Privilege”. Several of the students were very open about their stereotypes of us.
After spending time with the DORM group, we moved to the food pantry where we were the rest of the afternoon. I helped to rearrange the freezer. In doing that, we had to go through all of the foods in the freezer — mostly meats — and check the expiration dates and for freezer burn. Many of the packages were open, which was upsetting because we probably threw away 4 trash bags of meat. We had to take out boxes, put back boxes, take boxes out again. When we rearranged the freezer, we put the best looking meat toward the back and the oldest toward the front, hoping that it would be selected first.
When spending time with the GED students, I was very nervous because I didn’t want to do anything wrong — which was odd because I rarely think that way — but I was very careful in what I said. How I interacted because I knew that I could identify with the students. I did not want them to stereotype me as a privileged white girl, so I believe that I acted more inclined to their behavior, which I wish I hadn’t. However, I became much more relaxed around the DORM students. They were closer to my age, more mature, and fewer in number than the other class which made me more at ease. The guys were very talkative and made conversation easy. On Thursday, I want to return to the GED class without being nervous and code switching, I want to talk to the DORM students to have more personal conversations with them about life.
Going into sorting the food pantry, I was not very excited. I typically do not enjoy doing things of that nature, but today was a really enjoyable experience. I did not have any idea that time had passed as quickly as it did. I was dedicated to my mission of helping my team arrange the freezer. The more we did, the less work it was.
I am aware that I am fluent in code switching, while this is a blessing in many cases, I feel that it was a downfall today. I could feel my demeanor change with the groups of people I was around, but it was unintentional, because I wanted to relate to them I had very hard shifts in my behavior and demeanor in both the GED and the DORM classes.
I could see myself in classes with many of the students. I didn’t imagine myself to be that different from the people around me. If my life had been slightly different, then I would be in the class next to them. That thought is what made me want to be close to them — the thought that this could be me.
Within less than an hour with each group of those students, I desire to hear their stories but not just the ones about their past, I am more interested in what they see themselves being. With the slight connection that I feel toward these students, I believe that massive change can be done through an organization like this where I am constantly there. I hopefully will be able to continue volunteering at Hearts after this class is over. If nothing more, I will come back to help film/shoot a documentary or piece about Hearts because it is obvious that it deserves more press and funding.
In our discussions, I have mentioned more than once that my mother is a chef. Culinary arts has proven to be a great transition from the prison system to a career path. A restaurant kitchen typically is loud, violent, high-risk, and vulgar; these are typically not the attributes associated with a great career, which is exactly why the kitchen is a good transition from prison to the work force. I hope that maybe sometime in the future I can join my mother’s culinary knowledge and Hearts to form a culinary program. I can forsee a program that not only creates chefs out of previous inmates, but also expand the food pantry possibly into a soup kitchen — the possibilities with this program are endless.
SECTION 2: DEAL
In interacting with the students today, I definitely had to reevaluate some of the things I said and some of the things I felt. Talking to the classes gave me an overt sense of my privilege. The mission of Hearts to Nourish Hope is to help these students and they have very intense issues that they are faced with.
SECTION 3: Reading
How do Food Stamps Work?
a) The stats that were given within the video came from mainly government or authoritative sources, but the first video referenced has real probing questions for Food Stamps, such as is $29/week acceptable.
c) Food stamps, with food pantries, are all a result of our attempt to stop the chronic issue of food insecurity. These issues are deeply rooted in the political, cultural, and economic fabric of our culture.
Facing the Truth: The Case for Reparations
a) “We still can’t get away from having a two-toned society.” Years of problems against African-Americans helped to create this large gap between white America and black America.
c) This is a different way of looking at race relations in America. These numbers of years cannot be undone by a few pieces of legislation that allows for black people to have more opportunities, but this does not make the playing field equal, but just stops the increase in that one specific way. This idea of reparations is highly sensitive, but I believe that sensitive controversial topics increase awareness about our cultural fabric.
An Atlas of Upward Mobility — New York Times
a) The likelihood of people being able to move up through the classes in certain areas is greater in different locations. Safe neighborhoods are a huge factor in the success of people based on their stress levels.
c) Learning about the difficulties of upward mobility based on location allows me to understand the overall issues of poverty better. This article made the location issue very obvious and even had a link so that the reader could identify with the issue looing at their own area. I looked at Floyd county.
“Floyd County is very bad for income mobility for children in poor families. It is better than only about 7 percent of counties.”
Summary and Questions
- Would a system of reparations that benefit mainly black people help adjust the offset between the socio-economic classes? In what ways would that look like, possibly prison reform?
- Issues of poverty are reliant on very fundamental, almost inaleinable rights: safety, shelter, food, health, etc. What are some other rights that we have that we take for granted that many poor people do not have? For example, teeth (Hand to Mouth).
SECTION 4: Research on Organization — Atlanta Food Bank
a) The Atlanta Community Food Bank is addressing the issues of food insecurities and food deserts within the Atlanta area. The ACFB receives and distributes the food to over 600 nonprofits within the metro Atlanta area.
b) The food is donated and then distributed through staff, volunteers, and donors. This food is then send to the partners and nonprofit organizations that will later give the food to those in the community.
c) The ACFB started in 1979 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church through Bill Bolling, whom now is the acting Executive Director.
d) The ACFB is run by the Executive Staff and the Board of Executives in addition to a Board of Adviers. It is a local organization, but it has a very large reach through the northern GA area through the metro Atlanta area.
e) There are so many avenues that someone could get involved. How could the ACFB maximize their opportunities and events into high traffic events?
f) I find it interesting that the ACFB was able to be such a large nonprofit through mainly suppling other nonprofits with food. Its almost as if ACFB is the manufacturer and the other nonprofit partners are the stores through distribution.