Views From 90 Penn: Get Active to Make Change

Photo on 9-30-13 at 9.08 AM

My name is Myranda; I am an intern at the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC) during the fall semester of my junior year at LIU Post. I am studying Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice with the hopes of some day attending Law School. I am truly passionate about the growth and prosperity of human society and truly believe that equality is essential for humanity to survive the ever-changing world we live in. Upon being offered this internship by Dr. Heather Parrott, I was elated to begin working with the organizer’s of LIPC because I knew that we had similar goals for not only society on a grand scale but more specifically the Long Island community.

In the past weeks, I had the opportunity to attend two Good Jobs, Good Schools forums that were open to the community and provided vital and informative knowledge to concerned citizens in struggling Long Island areas. Both forums were non- partisan events hosted by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Long Island Wins, and Noticia, where candidates running for office were invited to speak alongside community members who came to share their stories of triumph and struggle. After having made my fair share of phone calls to invite members of the community to these forums, I was quite skeptical of how the turn out for the events would be, considering that many of my phone calls ended with either no one even picking up or a “no” but when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only were there more than a dozen participating organizations present, there were also concerned community members who came with questions and wanted to have a voice.

Watching a handful of hardworking community members stand up at the podium with shaky voices and concerned looks on their faces was nothing short of inspiring. It was truly amazing to hear the handful of men and women speak of their struggles and needs for change in the upcoming year as we approach Election Day. Some spoke of a need for a raise in the minimum wage to a working wage because they struggle to feed their families and pay their rent; others spoke of the need for adequate and equal funding throughout all of our schools and some even addressed the issues they face as minority groups trying to make better lives for themselves and receive degrees after graduating from the New York public school system. These speakers were hardworking, concerned, struggling residents who are standing in solidarity to raise awareness for these pressing issues. Witnessing these people speak and hearing of their struggles was genuinely eye opening because while I am aware of the growing difficulties Long Islander’s face as the cost of living continues to rise yet wages have remained the same and state aid in school’s has been cut significantly, witnessing people share the accounts of their struggles first hand really made me realize how pressing these issues are.

As a young woman, working towards a degree in my field and hoping to one day make a difference for well being of the community, the commitment to making progressive changes which will benefit Long Island is something I hold close to my heart. If more people in struggling communities would join together, like the speakers did at these forums I truly believe that Long Island could start to see beneficial, essential changes. We, as individuals cannot continue to put our faith in others to work toward policy changes because one person, or even a small group cannot do it alone, we must all stand up together.