By Melissa Rizer, Community Engagement Intern
As a young adult looking at the world today, it is difficult to feel optimistic about the future. With the introduction of COVID-19 bringing racial disparities and other social and political issues into focus, I have found myself wondering: where do we go from here?
My first step toward enacting real change as an undergraduate School of Social Work student at Grand Valley State University was to get involved with an organization that focuses on macro-level change. I was introduced to the Michigan League for Public Policy thanks to the university and I am now interning with the League’s Community Engagement Team, assisting in representing the west side of Michigan.
Though I am new to the world of public policy, I have been eagerly observing and learning from staff members at the League as well as the community I inhabit temporarily as a college student. While I joined the League in the fall, my education on public policy advocacy began this past summer in attending protests against police brutality. What have I learned from both experiences? One body can make a difference.
It only takes one person to write an email or call your local representatives. One person can intervene when microaggressions arise in the workplace or in school. One body in addition to many can make the overall group stronger.
I will my body to be one of facilitating change.
My privilege as a college-educated white womxn is not lost on me. In facilitating social and political change, it is important to actively recognize this privilege and keep it in check; this is not a career field for the egotistical.
I have aimed to utilize my presence here at the League to promote social justice by lifting up the voices of people who are deemed marginalized and oppressed. I am excited to continue observing the intelligent work of all of the staffers at the League and look forward to assisting on projects that focus on encouraging young people to use their bodies—and their voices—as conduits for the changes they wish to see in their community. I will my body to be one that assists in making a difference.
Now I will ask you: what will you do with your body?