Building strong initiatives means building strong communities

After today, our first week of Summer of Solutions – Twin Cities will be over.


It’s been tumultuous, fascinating, inspiring, and overwhelming all at once. I’ve had a lot of thinking to do, and not much time to sit down and meditate.

We’ve had a lot of good thought happening this week. I’ve met some really amazing people that I would really like to get to know. However, my own role in the Summer of Solutions seems to be a precarious one.

I don’t have nearly as much experience as most of the people I’m working with. And while that’s completely fine – I attended the SSC’s training program last summer, I have been working on my campus as best I can, but really, I haven’t accomplished nearly as much as these amazing people, and feel self-conscious about it. I know I don’t have as much experience to bring to the table, and am frustrated with myself for having wasted so much time not organizing.

I don’t want to come up with excuses for my lack of experience. It’s simply where I’m at right now in my activist journey. And I know that this summer, I will learn so much from these people.

What I really hope to do is become a part of a community that won’t break up at the end of the summer. I don’t want Summer of Solutions to be a one-time, one-summer program. I want what happens this summer to continue over into the years to come. I don’t want to start coalitions that then break apart when we’re all in our separate colleges, separate towns, even states.

The thing that I see that will act as the catalyst for this community, then, is to build friendships. I want to befriend everyone in the program, whether or not we are working on the same issues. I want to make unexpected friends, in communities that we enter to create change in society. I want to laugh, invite people to things, and most of all, I want to be one of the many lungs breathing life into this space.

I feel that the people of Summer of Solutions have so much potential. At the same time, we are in a strong position in history to make major change. With the stimulus package, and the new administration in office, and Copenhagen in December, we have a lot of support and a lot of resources available to us. Now we just need to harness our resources, come together, and find a way to fly.

I’m still not sure what the summer will look like, exactly, for me. I want to work with communities. I want to hook up with already existing groups, as well as dream a new dream with new people and follow it. I also have a research grant, and have realized that my travels will take me away from this community for up to three weeks. So I need to come up with a way to keep in touch with the group while I’m away. At the same time, I still haven’t got responses from anyone I asked to interview, so I may not be able to do it at all.

That’s an issue for me to work out on my own. I can say that I am excited to be here this summer.

Remember to fly. Remember to ground.

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