Day 7 “Engaging in Discussions for Change”- By Bailey

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Today was a day full of honest reflections and thought provoking questions. We began the morning by learning about the two recent shootings that have occurred. I found these two events very disheartening and I think many others did as well.These two shootings specifically have effects on a multitude of different communities and the nation as a whole. So as young ambassadors to our changing communities, it was critical that we could discuss these occurrences as a group.

I also found it very eye opening to realize how this connects to the issues which we have been discussing in PLACE throughout the program. After this first mini-discussion there was still so many loose ends and feelings which didn’t have time to vent, but we had to shift gears because we were lucky enough to have two government employees come and speak with us. They explained how the different levels of government function, including division such as, the school board,the city and the county. The question and answer portion revealed how complex and confusing governments really are. I believe for a lot of us it demonstrated our role and how we have the power to advocate for ourselves and our beliefs and push for policy changes and just interact with our government as a whole.

Once the government employees left we then returned back to our original discussion, which I was so pleased about because there were so many questions that were unanswered. We all went around the room and just said what was on our minds and how we were feeling about the shootings as well as prevalent issues and the activities we have been doing over the last week. The answers were beyond diverse and I found this intriguing and interesting because it demonstrated how different people’s reactions are. I am not much of a talker but this discussion made such an impact and on me personally because it was overwhelming to be surrounded by such engaged and smart group of individuals, who openly shared a part of themselves to the group. I think this really connected the group on an interpersonal level. We then were sent out to get lunch and then jumped right back into the discussion.

Once the discussion was over for good, we began to focus on moving forward with our project. We divided into to five groups: “Community Outreach, Case Studies, Interviews, Lit/Data and Information Management.” We all got to choose our own groups, which allowed for us to all be excited for work and effort we are going to put in to finish out project. Overall I think today really connected us a group and I am beyond excited to begin working on this project.

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