I’ve tried to find a focus in what I want to do with my life. I know there are issues I care about — public health, women of color leadership, community development, among others. However, I never had an “angle,” that one thing that ties all of my interests together. A good friend of mine told me to check out GOOD’s issue about neighborhoods, and that is when it hit me: I want to build better communities.
Today, I met with Plainfield, New Jersey’s Council Member At Large Annie McWilliams, who has been such an inspiration to me ever since I met her at StartingBloc New York. Annie and I chatted over omelettes in East Newark discussing some of the issues urban communities (predominately of color) face. I left our conversation even more inspired to spring into action and come up with new ways for me to tackle some issues I see in the neighborhood where I grew up, East New York, Brooklyn.
I have been simultaneously working on a model for community development that encourages previous residents of underserved communities to reinvest in their neighborhoods. After speaking with a number of people in the field of community/economic development, it seems feasible and something I am adamant about implementing.
Tonight, I am pulling an all-nighter to get my plans together and figure out the best way for me to be an active participant in providing sustainable solutions to urban issues. I think I finally recognized my calling.