When I decided to apply for an internship with the Greenspon Center in March, I expected my summer to look completely different. I thought I would commute to an office, spend my days working side by side with the Greenspon Center’s fabulous team and spend my nights hanging out with friends. Instead, I took Monday morning calls from the kitchen table in my childhood home and spent most evenings playing heated games of Scrabble with my parents. But despite the differences in my expectations and reality for this summer, the Greenspon Center still gave me an invaluable look at the communication, teamwork, dedication, and thoughtfulness that goes into all of the work they do.
Talli, Judy, Donna and Talia each sought to provide the most meaningful experience they possibly could throughout the three months I spent with them. They gave me opportunities to assist with projects I’d never worked on before, like grant writing or researching the history of restorative justice in Charlotte. Aside from the opportunity to learn new skills, they trusted me to work on projects alone. I was able to use my artistic skills to design an adult coloring book, something I had never attempted before but enjoyed immensely.
I had to chance to watch and participate in their collaboration on group projects and event planning. I got a behind-the-scenes look at their individual leadership and work styles, and I saw the way they each use their respective strengths to orchestrate group efforts. Further, in this collaboration, they valued my opinion and let me weigh in on decisions I did not anticipate access to as an intern.
This summer brought a wave of activism surrounding Black Lives Matter, and the Greenspon Center dove head–first into fight for justice. When physical proximity was not possible, they found new ways to educate, organize, and collaborate with groups and individuals in the fight for social justice and racial equality. I was fortunate enough to attend their Teach-Ins, a die-in with clergy from all walks of religious life and programs about whiteness and Judaism. I’ve seen firsthand the passion and dedication that goes into this programming—I feel lucky that I had the chance to learn and grow by assisting with the organization of these events and participating in them.
I feel more confident as an activist and ally because of the work I did with the Greenspon Center this summer. They demonstrated what it means to keep the fight for justice at the core of all work, and they taught me the effectiveness of collaborating with others to achieve a common goal. I will always feel grateful to the opportunity to work with each of them, and I will urge my friends and family to continue supporting the wonderful work they do.