Note: This post is a part of our Student Showcase series. During the summer of 2020, the Institute held a virtual internship for students in Deep East Oakland. During this internship, students were paired with a staff mentor. Trylyon Love, a student in the Oakland Public School System, authored this post along with input from her with staff mentor, Erica Mitchell.
While working with the Brower Dellums Institute this summer, I have learned how important community is. I've realized how critical it is to build a community that brings everyone together. Through the Institute, I was able to speak to many amazing people who want to contribute to building and improving our neighborhood. We decided it was most important that we had members of our community be the most active in creating it. With things like gentrification happening every day in the Bay Area, finding artists outside of our space would only be defeating our purpose of being one with each other. I am very thankful to have been able to work with all these amazing people this summer and I have really been able to notice the importance of maintaining the place we live for the generations to come.
Before this internship, I would say I wasn't really as concerned or involved in the community. I never realized how important it was to everyone else. In this program, my main focus was on collecting the artist's information so they could work on designing aspects of the creek. While doing so, I got to speak to many different people within our community who understood the importance of the program. There wasn't just one specific artist who helped strengthen my mindset about community. For me, it was really a collective experience talking to each artist. Hearing how willing and interested they were in helping us, was really motivating and inspiring.
We weren't able to connect in person this year, but I took the time to go and walk along the part of the San Leandro creek that was closest to my school. In the future, in regards to the creek, I would like to see a place that is a safe space for all ages. I want an area where families and friends can go to be connected to the world and their community.