Violence is an American Pastime. A tradition of sorts. A concept so internalized that people either make excuses for its usage or fuss about it for a minimal amount of time and move on. So when I was in 8th grade at Mark Sheridan Academy in Chicago, Illinois, I wrote a piece of prose about how I wanted to escape everything. My city, the violence, the problems, the turmoil, etc. My teacher loved my piece, but her most potent comment about it was the one encouraging me to be involved in the solution instead of running away from the problem. I was already a writer, so I felt that my words were my best medium. So when that same teacher announced the Do the Write Thing contest, I knew I had been blessed with the opportunity to provide something valuable. I thought of and threw out ideas for weeks and on the night before it was due, I worked tirelessly from 11-2 am on my piece. I told my mother before the Chicago ceremony that I was going to win, yet despite my confidence, it is still one of my most humbling and special accomplishments. Throughout my trip to Washington DC, I told everyone (interns, teachers, students, staff members) about how seriously I took this and how I wanted to be a vessel for the solution of stopping violence. I admittedly lost focus as I went through the common phase of finding myself during high school. Nonetheless, two years after graduating, I find myself as an intern for the Kuwait America Foundation still looking for ways to save and better the lives of those in my precious city, cities around the country, and cities abroad.
I’ll be blogging throughout my month as an intern for the Kuwait America Foundation. Feel free to leave comments and share your thoughts on the issue!