I was browsing through Instagram this week and saw a post by @samjstirling: “Adulthood is completely understanding why Britney Spears shaved her head.” And so I concluded that 2018 is the year that I’ve become an adult. No more judgement from me, Britney.
I want to be vulnerable and open about my professional struggles. If you would have asked me last year what was on my mind I would have likely told you that I felt frustrated that I didn’t have a passion, a purpose, a specific project or interest that would make my work meaningful to me. Then, in November of 2017 I saw Janaya Khan speak and decided that I wanted to be more politically active. I began working out my frustrations through local organizing. I also decided that 2018 was the year that I would radicalize myself – and so I began reading.
As you can see, I wasn’t entirely focused in my radicalization efforts, but many of these books changed my life as my awareness of the white supremacist, imperialist, capitalist patriarchy increased my drive for justice.
Consequently, I organized programs:
- The Power of Partnerships: Building institutional and community alliances to transform research and learning, Delaware Valley Chapter of ACRL – April 20
- Development in Allentown: Are you being left behind?, Allentown Coalition for Economic Dignity – April 29
- Structures of Power in Information, LVAIC Information Literacy Learning Community – May 23
- People Matter: The changing faces of Allentown, Allentown Coalition for Economic Dignity – October 13
- Librarians as Advocates: Leading activism on your campus and beyond, Delaware Valley Chapter of ACRL – October 26
- Party for the People: A night of art, community, and social justice, Allentown Coalition for Economic Dignity – December 13
I taught classes and focused on critical information literacy praxis. I began to develop a game to help students critically evaluate the Library of Congress classification system. I helped a class in which half the students were incarcerated.
I began research on dialogue and news evaluation, information literacy and metacognition, and Allentown community dreams.
I canvassed for a candidate during the primaries and advocated for my communities needs at city council.
And in spite of all of this, I have had many mental health challenges. Awareness of the horrors of our hate-ridden society has produced a lot of internal anxiety and an unprecedented amount of frustration about things I previously loved in my life. This is the year that I’ve practiced meditation, abstained from drinking, and started cognitive behavioral therapy. I’ve had to work hard to be happy in spite of the intersections of my privileged identities, love from friends and family, and a happy place to work.
I share this in the spirit of renewal and practice. This year wasn’t just one of radicalization, but one of increased awareness, empathy, and compassion. I’m thankful for my new direction in life and will continue to make small changes until I find more balance. May the new year bring peace and connection and freedom from fear for you and yours.