A Year In Review: From an Intern's Perspective

  • Posted on: 28 April 2021
  • By: Mayra Dominguez

This year the Dane County Timebank has taught me a lot about anti-racist and abolitionist practices. The organization exposed me to how much white supremacy dictates our everyday life. As a social work student and proponent of social justice in the Black community, I am well aware of the systems that continue to perpetrate racism, however, the degree to which it is ingrained in our lives is something I was unaware of. Studying different works by Dr. Bettina Love, and Ibram X. Kendi has taught me that I really do not know much about our world. It has reminded me the amount of knowledge I do hold is the tiniest of fractions compared to all the knowledge in the world. It has forced me to humble myself and walk into conversations and situations with the assumption that I know nothing. It has demanded me to relearn topics I thought I knew and others at a deeper level than I imagined.

This internship has pushed me to deal with uncomfortable situations and how to navigate them in a professional and elegant manner. This work is continuous and there will always be room for me to improve myself as human in this society and as a social worker. I have also had the opportunity to understand my place in the movement for Black liberation and how being a co-conspirator is just as important to reaching the goals set forth. It has also been an incredible journey of examining myself as a mixed person and the intersecting identities that make my work in this field just as unique and important.

When I started out with this internship I was hoping I would be able to work a lot with our youth at La Follette. I unfortunately, had minimal participation in these events and programming and took a different role regarding the volunteers in general. I had the pleasure of working with our volunteers and assisting in creating events and programming for them. I assisted in coming up with volunteer opportunities during a COVID world which presented its own unique obstacles.

I have had the honor of working with such an intelligent and proactive woman, yet I have not had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Damita Brown or any other of the staff at Timebank in person. It’s surreal to be interacting with the community and other professionals while never being able to truly meet them. I have not been able to truly interact with our community, but my work in the background has always strived to ensure their well-being and involvement in advancing these practices. 

I have admiration for each and every one of the volunteers and Timebank members I have interacted with because of how dedicated they are to their community. I have loved attending meetings and seeing how many of you have grown and the affinity groups you possess to implement this work. I have watched our members dismantle white supremacy and it has made me incredibly hopeful for the longevity of this work. It is impossible to dismantle the systems in place without the active participation of citizens to undo them. It has been a hell of a year and I have learned a lot about myself and abolitionist practices that will continue to influence how I carry myself and my expectations for others. It is translated in my work as a social worker while combating the mass incarceration of Black children with the vision of abolishing the prison system in general. As my time has come to a close I want to say thank you to each of the staff members who have supported me, especially Damita, and to all those volunteers who continue to practice this work. My experience would not had been possible without you and always remember “keep ya head up child, things’ll get brighter.”