June 6, 2014 by Caroline Leland
A Visit to the Bronx
After a lengthy meeting about community outreach strategies yesterday morning, the other interns and I spent a couple of hours in the office organizing paperwork and following up with some of the community partners we had met the day before.
After lunch, I took the subway with another of the interns, Jillian, to watch a tour being led at a grocery store in the Bronx. I see racial divides all the time in the South, but it still surprises me to see a huge city like NYC so segregated. I kind of already knew that, since I know poverty lines generally follow racial divides, but still it shocks me to see it in person. I absolutely loathe feeling like the only white person in a low-income neighborhood — not because I’m worried about my safety, but because it makes me shudder to think that my skin color is such a huge factor in my personal success.
The other day I read an immensely intriguing New York Times article about bridging the divide between poor/minority and rich/white college students, because it’s absolutely unjust that the rich/white kids are so much more successful in college. I loved reading that the University of Texas at Austin, where my sister Janie will start her first year this fall, has an innovative program to help shrink that gap. Here’s the article for anyone interested.
Anyway, the tour in the Bronx was interesting, and I learned a lot from seeing it happen in person. For example, at the end of the tour the participants are asked to spend a few minutes collecting $10 worth of healthy food items based on what they learned on the tour — which City Harvest then pays for. When one man brought back two boxes of butter popcorn in his shopping bag, I was impressed by the delicacy and tact the tour leaders used to tell him why they couldn’t buy that for him. The women who led the tour seemed like really cool people in general, so I’m hopeful I’ll see them around the office or at other City Harvest events.
At the subway station as I was waiting for my train home, two women approached me and asked in Spanish for my help with directions. Not only was I flattered that they thought I looked like someone who would know Spanish, but it also gave me a huge kick to use it. It was actually my first opportunity to speak Spanish since coming home from Spain two weeks ago, and I had forgotten what a thrill it gives me. Still don’t really understand why, but I am obsessed with speaking Spanish and couldn’t be happier that I’ll be able to lead some of my tours in Spanish.
So I rode home happily considering all this in my head.
Then I went for my third run in Central Park since Monday, basking in the sun and trees and grass and sharing in the joy of all the other people enjoying it.
P.S. ANNOUNCING MY INTENSE EXCITEMENT THAT MY BABY SISTER IS VISITING ME WITH MY GRANDPARENTS NEXT WEEKEND
|Yankee Stadium! When I sent the fam this picture they asked me to name on player on the team and I failed.|
|poem in the subway|
|hilarious ad in the subway|
|I live here #wut|