*One of our CSUCI service learning volunteers, Stephanie Berrellez, attended a TAY Tunnel Discussion panel on November 20th. These are her thoughts.
TAY Tunnel presented an opportunity to discuss many tribulations that members of the organization are affected by. Sexualization, heteronormativity, gender discrimination, and false imprisonment among African Americans are topics that are meant to be heard until it starts an open dialogue on a large scale.
An interesting part of the discussion at TAY Tunnel was when we were all given an opportunity to explicitly express how we feel about everything; from Trump’s behavior on social media to young African American men and women being killed coldheartedly by police officers and others based on the color of their skin. Most of my words stemmed from my disgust with the absence of a justice system in this country, and social media’s influence on self-identity.
At one point, a young female high school student expressed she strives to break the cycle; young minorities settling for low incomes and no education. There are unfulfillable expectations of young minorities to achieve, thus, they remain complacent members of our society. There lacks a great deal of leadership, and for that reason, the most important ideal I embraced after the discussion is that everything is connected. Being aware of it during every day life puts us at an advantage.
My goal is to provide a softer landing for people to feed off my words and transcribe it into their own. As a community, we are already in the midst of breaking barriers, fighting, and working deliberately to protect and serve members who have experienced discrimination and injustice in this world. I can affect change because with this many people, we all are on the same page. At one point, we have to disconnect with the culture and dive deep into personal experience for a moment. It is our responsibility to push the conversation until were all equal. We must relate with compassion; expose feelings and be vulnerable in front of the world.