I remember moving in to my apartment back in August, and my mom advised me to not overflow my apartment with too many things because it would be too hard to move things out after I complete my two years in Chicago. I told her, mom I JUST MOVED IN! But she replied saying that these two years would fly by so fast and before I would know it, I would be packing to move out. And was she right! I can't believe I've already completed my first year!
I've learned so much in my first year and my new found knowledge has truly made me realize how lucky I was to have the childhood I had. The arts are definitely overlooked in our everyday lives and while most of us may not realize the impact the arts have on a community, it is necessary that we at least try to understand how art is used to build community. Because of the MAAAP program, I've come to appreciate the community that raised me and really question and look at the world differently. Our parents moved here with only each other to rely on and they built a community for us that was self sustainable. They gave us a place to go after school, events that celebrated our culture, and they worked so hard to make sure that we knew our identities. I see the American public constantly fighting for this, and trying to establish culture in communities so it can prosper and provide more for its people. I think of the times I felt as if I was drowning in my culture or community, but only now I've come to realize what a strong anchor it has been for me. And even though we may not agree with some of our cultural traditions, we have to be positive that there's always room to improve or break the negative cycles. And we have to be thankful to our parents for their bravery, they left their homeland and established a community for us to prosper in.
Another thing I've realized is that we often talk about change and how we see it on the ground level, but how can we push for real change that only happens at the systematic level? I can tell you that the arts are already making that systematic change, and continuously fighting for it! Transitioning from a business background, I see the difference in work environments at art organizations and foundations, I see the policy changes that are happening with the data that art initiatives are providing, and I see hope transforming into a reality for all of us. My first year so far has been very rewarding and I'm excited to for what the next one is going to bring!
So here's to Part II of the journey. I'm really excited for the summer in the city and all my upcoming endeavors! Stay tuned...it just keeps getting better.