For several weeks last month I participated in a four-week leadership training course held by one of my company’s partner organizations, the Southwest Organizing Project. While I initially attended the course on the request of my supervisor, it wasn’t until my last session that I really felt like I had learned anything.
On the very last day we (re)learned the concept of a one-to-one, an opportunity to talk to someone one-to-one and really, truly get to know them. The catch: we had to do it in front of the whole group. It was awkward and hard, but definitely worth it because I gained some valuable perspective. My one-to-one partner was a girl the same age as me (24). She has a four-year old son, hasn’t gone to college and has seen one of her best friends get shot in the very community she lives in. But she was honest, so nice, works for CeaseFire and doesn’t want to abandon the neighborhood she lives in. Another classmate has two young sons and only just recently felt safe enough to walk outside her home to get the mail after seeing a young boy get shot in the head while she held her own kids. That was over a year ago.
While there are certain aspects of my own life that I wish I could change (namely I wish certain people weren’t in it), I feel truly grateful that I’ve never experienced the horrors these two girls have seen. Thank goodness for perspective.