She/Her/KC's First day

Today was my first day at CAAAV! I arrived on time at 10:30am for the intern orientation, despite the fact that it was raining pretty hard this morning. Vivian, the project manager, and Anj, the lead organizer, led the orientation for me and John, and the other intern, Jeff, sat in since he started at CAAAV a few months ago already. The work environment is very casual and caring. I really like that when we introduce ourselves, we have to say not only our name but also our preferred gender pronouns. A lot of groups fight for social justice but neglect justice and sensitivity for those who do not fit in conventional gender identities. So it made me feel comfortable knowing that I am interning at an organization that truly seeks to make space for everyone regardless of race, class, gender, or sexuality.

Besides introductions to all the staff and learning about the office space and logistics, we also had to talk about what we want out of this internship, what we bring to it, and what we expect of ourselves, our supervisors, and the organization as a whole. I am excited to bring my interpersonal skills as well as facilitation and teambuilding skills to the internship. I also want to push others to recognize and dismantle oppression. But I’m also excited to learn from the organization and from the youth who I will work with – I think they will challenge and push my thinking just as I will for them, and I think I will learn a lot about Asian American issues and history together with the youth. I really hope to connect with the youth in a way that transcends the common denominator that we happen to be Asian Americans, but more so in a way where I learn about where our liberations and struggles are bound up with one another.  

After lunch, I met with Ruben, my supervisor in Asian Youth in Action (AYA), the program that I am working with this summer. I had met Ruben before back in January when I interviewed at CAAAV, and I am excited to work with him this summer. We talked about timelines, expectations, responsibilities, and working styles to make sure we work out a way to interact with each other and maximize our work. Apparently when the summer program starts in July, we will be meeting with the youth on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, so I will be working mostly from Tuesdays to Saturdays as opposed to Mondays to Fridays, which is something rather new for me, so I look forward to trying that out.
Vivian gave John and me a short informal fundraising training. The kickoff to the summer program for the youth is a badass retreat in July to the Catskill Mountains upstate and we are helping fundraise. I made a razoo fundraising page for it and one of my professors from my study abroad program (IHP) actually shared my link and post! I hope my networks and extended networks come through for me and support me because it will be really important for me, as a new intern, to bond with the current youth and the new youth for AYA during the retreat. Please check out the razoo page to find out more about what I am fundraising for and share the page to help me reach my goal!

For the rest of the day, I mainly helped out with folding the monthly newsletters. It was a good way to do some mindless work and chitchat to get to know other people at CAAAV. Everyone helped me brainstorm ideas for healthy meals I can make in advance for lunches during the week, that way I do not have to keep buying lunch every day. So far I have a pretty good list of meals to start with. I even went to Target tonight after dinner to buy a seat cushion for my chair at CAAAV so that I can be comfortable during work. I am so ready to take on the work!

But I must thank Rice's sociology department, because the Chandler and Ian Davidson Social Justice Internship is supporting my endeavor this summer. As a sociology major, I really got to learn about patterns that exist among groups of people in society and examine the forces that lie within these patterns. I have always had a passion for social justice. It is something I live for and I am excited to combine all my interests in human rights, marginalized populations, women, and a new found interest in Asian American issues in my internship this summer, thanks to the support from Rice. 


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