I recognize and tend to the generational and current traumas caused by
oppressive systems, institutions, policies, and practices.
Deepa Iyer, Solidarity Is and Building Movement Project
The Healer aligns very well with the change I hope to create in the world. Working with disadvantaged populations like first-generation students, the LGBTQ community, and victims of crimes is something I am deeply passionate about. I hope to use my work to make a positive difference in the communities vulnerable to exploitation. COVA has further illuminated that oppression and prejudice is ingrained into the system which has real life consequences that affect people everyday. Healing generational trauma, creating safe spaces, and deconstructing an oppressive system are all wrapped into the work I wish to complete with my time at COVA and eventually as a career.
How has life changed for you in 2020? What have been some of the biggest challenges?
2020, has been a journey for sure - adjustments, self-care, and backup plans have been necessary more than ever. Changing to remote learning while back home has presented a number of challenges and creative solutions that follow. It felt good to be back with family during this time, enjoying time with my parents and nieces that I otherwise would have missed out on. However, I sincerely miss being on campus and I am looking forward to tapping back into the University of Denver community this upcoming year. The unexpected twists and turns that have unfolded this year, while challenging, opened up space to take a break, slow down, reflect and enjoy the moments that go unnoticed amidst busy schedules.
What have you learned in your role at COVA?
As I enter my second month as an intern, I already feel like I have learned so much! On a professional level, this internship has heightened my level of excitement for choosing a future career path. Seeing the array of job titles and learning about different organizations/agencies has opened my eyes to the world of possibilities - I get so excited envisioning myself with an office of my own one day. My time at COVA has also taught me the importance of trauma-informed care when working with vulnerable populations, and in my everyday life. Taking the time to understand that everyone has an entire history of experiences (both positive and negative) that they carry with them can transform a combative situation into a space that allows for healing.
What do you value most about Access Opportunity?
One of my biggest goals in life is to be known as a person that warmly welcomes everyone without judgment. The times we are in require compassion and resilience, which I hope to start by leading as an example. My goal to be a person that others feel comfortable relating to comes from a place of wanting to live in a world free from hate. My experiences as a queer student of color have allowed me to see the world through a difference lens, one of non-judgment and understanding, which I strive to integrate into my internship and life everyday. Access Opportunity is undoubtedly an organization that works to empower students, and it has deeply impacted my life as I entered college - the connections I have made and the love I have received from the AO community inspires me to continue on the path of healing.