September 11th, 2008 – by Emily Benner
My internship is at D.C. Jobs with Justice and so far it is amazing. I am assisting in organizing immigrant day laborers who hang out in the parking lot at the local Home Depot waiting for contractors to pick them up for jobs form a union and develop a worker task force center. The parking lot manager and Home Depot don’t appreciate their presence. Being from a Puerto Rican background, I understand Spanish fluently but speak minimally. I’m hoping to be fluent by the end of the semester. I will also assist in organizing and teach ESL classes, campaigning for worker rights, and community support and development.
I am taking two classes at Howard University, a highly respected and predominantly African American university. I am taking Seminars in Community Development and Public Art Inter-Media. My first experience alone on the Howard campus was a bit intimidating. I’m not used to being the minority to such a large degree but after walking through campus and sitting in the waiting room of the health center for three and a half hours, you tend to forget the color of your own skin. It’s a worrisome yet empowering feeling. On one hand you don’t want to lose your identity and on the other it is amazing not being the majority yet still being welcomed and accepted.
On my fourth day here, the entire house everyone had finally moved in and settled in the house. I was a bit overwhelmed after living by myself for the past year. I admit I may have cried myself to sleep that night but I’m learning to cope. I am learning that my housemates are also not out to get me but are all coping as well.