August 26, 2018
As I reach the halfway point of my fellowship and reflect upon the experiences I have gained as a result of this opportunity, I have learned so much about myself and the field of political activism and advocacy. Many of these things lessons have occurred unexpectedly, (as do many things in life) but have proved to be pivotal markers for my ongoing journey of personal growth. These lessons include how to look like less of a confused tourist, figuring out to carry several weeks worth of groceries home from the store by myself, knowing when to ask for help, and how to set up a support system in an unfamiliar place. Learning how to do these things have made my life easier and will hopefully make the second half of this experience much smoother. It is crazy to think that my time here is almost halfway over!
This week the field team has been tenaciously working on cementing final details and logistical needs for Action Lab. I really admire how this team is able to operate in such a smooth and respectful fashion with one and another, even as stressful events come up or deadlines quickly approach with so much still left to do. It has truly been a blessing to have the chance to work in such an inclusive and empowering atmosphere. Even when the staff was extremely busy with Action Lab preparation, the director of Beyond the Bomb, Cecili, took time out of her schedule to let me interview her for my class. Something that I have learned while being in the BTB/ GZ office is that everyone on the team has a different purpose that drives them to inspire change for a better tomorrow. Each of them, coming from different backgrounds and wielding different skills, have come together to create a collective front for change, being a true embodiment of Beyond the Bomb’s organizational values. It was inspiring to hear Cecili’s story, and learn how her path has led her to where she is currently with Beyond the Bomb.
From this weekend’s workshop, Action Lab, I have really grown to see how intersectionality within a social justice movement is often times an irreplaceable strength. Specifically pertaining to Beyond the Bomb’s initiative to irradiate nuclear weapons and prevent nuclear war, nobody is immune to the possible consequences of improperly used fissile material, or if heaven forbid, the outcome of what were to happen if a bomb was dropped in their city. With that being said, the movement to irradiate nuclear weapons effects everyone. Regardless of age, race, gender, or socio-economic standing. Preventing these grim possibilities would benefit everyone in a variety of positive ways. For example, an unfathomable $1.2 TRILLION from American taxpayers is set to be spent on the modernization and updating of our nuclear arsenals over the next 30 years. Economic conversion begs the question: how many problems could we solve with all of that money if it were to be spent elsewhere?!
It is easy to feel discouraged when trying to change or improve a huge problem such as this one. Being able to meet with and collaborate with people from all over the country sharing a mutual passion for making a dent in the problem was invaluable and re-energizing. I was especially grateful for this weekend because of the variety of perspectives and backgrounds that were brought to the table. Volunteers were able to offer advice and creative insight to others on what has been effective or a tough spot for them when trying to organize and mobilize around the issue of nuclear disarmament. I am so happy that I had the chance to meet so many amazing people who care about such a salient and under-discussed problem in our world and work with them on becoming more effective at spreading Beyond the Bomb’s message. I am eager to put these skills into practice, now that I have a firmer understanding of my purpose of working with Beyond the Bomb. I am excited to continue on this journey while feeling more confident about my ability to make a positive impact on dismantling a dangerous and inequitable system.
Isabel is a politics major from Mount Vernon, Iowa.