Angeline Etienne '22
My project was to become a part of Prison Radio's research and writing teams. Since it's a multi-media production studio, there were several ways I could've contributed. It didn't take long to establish some main goals. I wanted to bulk up on my political education by studying and listening to incarcerated people adding to the political conversations through our organization's podcast programs. I hoped to improve on my archiving skills and disseminating significant pieces of research necessary to reach goals for grants, major projects, and the like. I really wanted to help the website become more streamlined and easier to use through transcriptions, theme tagging, uploading, etc., with hopes to even dabble in computer programming. Mostly I desired to come away with my own written works about this political moment and my experiences as a young abolitionist connecting with those I view as political elders and vanguards. I am so grateful to say that I was able to tackle every single one of these goals, and then some.
Ayleah Johnson '22
Major: Economics with minor in Global Studies
Hometown: Fayetteville, NC
Over the summer I participated in an independent research project that I designed with Bucks County Housing Group to determine a need for transportation reform in the county. This project focused on establishing a demand in the northernmost region of the county mostly due to lack of transportation, but also lack of affordable transit from either nonprofit organizations or the city itself. After this, I used case studies from other pilot programs in the United States to inform what a rideshare program might look like in Bucks County. I chose to work with a rideshare mainly because it would allow middle- or low-income families and individuals to exercise independence in scheduling for emergency and unscheduled events. In addition, this would be most beneficial for folk in the most rural areas who have no reliable way of moving around the city on an hourly basis.
My supervisor and team was absolutely amazing about giving us a lot of information on what their organization does and how nonprofit work plays into helping others alongside statewide initiatives. They also were able to explain project ideas around the country and why they may not come to fruition depending on funding circumstances. For that, I learned more than just the information about my project, but also what a nonprofit can look like as well. I really appreciate my supervisor and all of the team at Bucks County for sharing their experiences with myself and the other researchers on the team. I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did about nonprofits while being involved in the SBAN Lang Center Summer Opportunity. I was pleasantly surprised by how much hands on experiences were able to translate despite the pandemic. We were able to engage in group discussions about readings, other research, host office hours, hold surveys, and more with one another.
Maleyah Peterson '21
Hi! My name is Maleyah Peterson and I am a senior Sociology major and Black Studies minor at Swarthmore. I don’t really know what life after graduation holds for me, but I hope to continue my work in Black Studies as a scholar with the hopes of contributing to Black Liberation and Black Freedom. I aspire to create spaces of Black critical study, whether in classrooms, or book clubs, or study groups. Black Studies, as a pedagogical and life practice, gave me truth and I hope to share that truth with other Black folks, young or old, however and whenever I am able.
During the summer, I, along with two other students, had the opportunity to work with Professor Johnson and her team on her research about Black life and movement in Philly zip codes with the highest level of incarceration rates. We were looking at neighborhoods on the simplest level, how do people move and make meaning within their neighborhoods? How does incarceration affect that meaning making process? We had the freedom to choose what we wanted to focus on and for my summer work I chose the Black Arts movement. What began as an interest in the Black Arts Movement has turned into a deep dive into Black Nationalism, Black militancy, urban guerilla tactics, and the ideological shifts during the 60s and 70s of the liberation movement.
Reading about Black political ideologies will always be relevant to me, and understanding how to make sense of all of this information is very much informed by my own Blackness and my politics. My research is about specific social systems, structures, and inequalities that aren’t divorced from each other or me. It is important for me to understand and become familiar with what these social systems, structures, and inequalities looked like during the 60s and 70s for me to understand how that influences the way people move and live around Philly today. My experience this summer was truly transformative, I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with Philly today and my work from the summer is something I have yet to put down. I am still engaging with it because I have learned so much about a city in such a great environment. Working with Professor Johnson and the other students has been an amazing experience, and I am so appreciative of what I have learned from them.