Aneesia '10 is a rising sophomore at St. John's University and an Environmental Science and French major. As a Youth Staff member this summer, Aneesia is busy preparing for this year's Summer Leadership Program (SLP).
What was your SLP experience like?
I was in SLP first as a junior, and then again as a senior. My first year was amazing. The experience of being with other young people from the same area as me who were also passionate about social justice issues was really inspiring. The community I was in really helped me develop as a leader.
And how do you feel like it helped you develop as a leader?
My first year, I came in by myself, as one of the first people from my school. It was nerve-wracking at first, but the community really helped me to break out of my shell. I made friends that I still have today. I also learned a lot about leadership in terms of doing community action - meeting with political representatives, going on the streets... At my high school, I was used to talking a lot about community action, but here we were actually doing it.
How have you continued your commitment to social justice beyond SLP?
The school I go to, its mission is built on social justice. This past winter, I participated in a community event called Project Hope, which took place from 8pm to 6am on the coldest night of the year in NYC. We went around and surveyed homeless people on their situation: how long they've been homeless, why, etc. Our goal was to get people off the streets and into shelters by giving them information about vans that would transport them to shelters.
If you could have a cup of coffee with one social justice activist (alive or deceased), who would you choose?
Oh my god. Audre Lorde. I love Audre Lorde. She's a writer that I learned about in class, in an article on the Feminist Movement. They way she articulates, the way she uses words to inspire social change made me think about the Feminist Movement in new ways, through the eyes of race and class.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Most likely in graduate school (laughs). I plan to study abroad again, then do research in environmental or animal science abroad.
Profile Created June 2012