If I were to write a poem to coin this period in my life, it’d be titled: “From Concrete to Ivory, the Maddening Descent.” In 2017, I donned the black robe of matriculation, and began a new leg in my journey of an innumerable distance. I, a Black Queer child sprout from brick and sea green foam, secured my stake in the great tower. The past two years have been an attempt to rectify the dizzying transition from having not to having more than generations before me have known, and how best to use this newfound access. The next step in this journey is with the PULSE program in Pittsburgh, PA.
In the words of my dear friend Jameelah Jones, the stifling of opportunity kills Black dreams, and thereby the dreamers, every day—Black children, Black parents, Black grandmothers, caregivers, sex workers, LGBTQ+ folk, those without shelter, and with differently abled bodies. I envision a world where the fabric of our society is manifest with opportunity. Every plant, every rock, every stitch of sky and stretch of land, an invitation for curiosity to bloom. Such a world requires deep personal and communal transformation. PULSE cultivates a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh. They invite recent college graduates (like myself) to partner with local nonprofits for a year of service and leadership. I am excited about the PULSE program because it offers an opportunity to learn about the creation of social and community organizations.
I am looking forward to finding my place within a new city and new community. My hope for the year is learning how to create and develop an organization grounded in the power of communal transformation, healing, and empowerment. In addition to partnering with local organizations, I also have the support to create unique, personally-driven programs to engage my residential Pittsburgh community. The two-fold experience of partnering with seasoned organizations and initiating my own communal service is promising. My time with PULSE will serve as the seeding for new fruit to bloom as I discover my work in the world.
Part of my first task as a PULSE participant is to assemble a team of people who will support me in this work. I realize that I can’t do this work alone, that I need others to come alongside me and partner with me. The work of creating a more liberated world is a communal endeavor.
The funds given in support will be used to support developmental opportunities throughout the year, and to provide in part for next year's PULSE cohort.