I feel summer winding down. Whispers of required textbooks and move-in dates are beginning to swirl around in my inbox. I’ve said goodbye to other peace fellows, friends, and family. With the imminent transition back to school and away from my summer fellowship, I can’t help but reflect on the past few months. I find that my summer was much richer having worked on these projects, nourished by the companionship of my zoom meetings, and challenged by the demands of our international development projects.
Alongside my projects in Bangladesh and India, I was trying to make sense of the world around me. A minoritarian court has swiftly axed the right to privacy. The gun epidemic has become so ingrained in American culture that this past 4th of July, we paradoxically celebrated our freedoms while mass shootings unfurled across the country. Climate change ravages communities around the globe, bowing down to no one–not even the stock market. On top of it all, our leaders seem incompetent and ill-equipped to break the cycle of despair. With all of the woes of the world packaged into headlines and broadcasted to every corner of our hearts, how can one not be cynical? How does one not sit with the confounding, paralyzed by our deeply flawed institutions? I, along with many other people, have felt this sense of disbelief. However, I think cynicism can be an appropriate response to the continuous catastrophic events being hurled at us daily.
At the same time, I realized while there is time to be cynical, there is also time for action. Recently, the largest piece of climate legislation was passed in the United States. Only a couple weeks before, voters vowed to protect Roe in states that I would have imagined such a result to be politically infeasible. In my work with The Advocacy Project, I was told that an additional boat to feed families on Mayadip Island is being constructed. Additionally, our partner in India has successfully vaccinated 832 individuals previously deemed inaccessible by the government. That number is continuing to climb. With every gift of good news, I remember that there are so many communities coming together, envisioning a better future for ourselves.
I feel grateful to work alongside The AP Staff and our community partners on these projects. I’ve learned that international development in communities takes a lot of communication with the affected community. It is better to build up infrastructure and work alongside local communities without imposing. These connections have proven to be long lasting, dynamic, and impactful. As you can imagine, the creative energy shared by AP and our partners means our projects are a continuous effort to help out. When a project seems to end, we ask ourselves, “What next?” Academically and professionally, I could not have asked for a more positive environment at The Advocacy Project. I felt supported and trusted as an equal by those at the heart of this organization. Their encouragement was infectious, and I hope to carry such positivity wherever I land next. Thank you to my team for a great summer!
Posted By Evan Cranmer
Posted Aug 19th, 2022