As many of you know, I recently embarked on a life-changing journey to New York City. Chosen by the ODU Women’s studies department to participate in Soapbox Inc.’s Feminist Summer Camp, I spent the last week networking, learning and enriching my life with like-minded individuals who will no doubt be my life-long colleagues in the battle for a more equal and just world. For more information on Soapbox.Inc., visit their website at http://www.soapboxinc.com/.
Not only did I experience a plethora of feminist spirit, I gained valuable knowledge of national and global non-profit organizations working for a better tomorrow. For my next couple of posts, I will be chronicling the themes and organizations that I encountered.
After our NYC sight-seeing adventure on Sunday, Monday morning rapidly approached. The other 22 women and I were all wondering the same thing, ‘what in the heck is going to happen to us in an adult summer camp for feminists?’ In fact, calling it “summer camp” gives this experience an unjust juvenile stigma. There were no tents and marshmallows here, replace those with an international hostel and cream cheese New York bagels with daily coffee runs and you’ve got our “camp” experience.
Walking into the Jazz on the Park Hostel (http://www.jazzhostels.com/jazzonthepark.php) in the upper west side, you are bombarded with a mix of languages ranging from Swedish to Spanish to Chinese and a more familiar English but with a slight twist (New Zealanders). If you’ve never stayed in a hostel, it’s pretty much a tiny space crammed with beds that you have to share with 3 others strangers. A communal bathroom with barely functioning showers and sinks top off your stay along with techno music blasting for our European friends after 8pm. I’m not complaining, just trying to paint a picture. In my opinion, no one should have to sleep in such close quarters with other people for more than two days maximum, even if they’re your partner. Luckily, I knew Teri and befriended the other two girls quickly. Like I did in South Africa, I created my safe space, though this time it was much less comforting than my room in Capetown. I shared my bed every night with my suitcase on a thin, hard mattress in a room that was surprisingly an icebox.
But seriously folks, that is the worse thing I can say about the trip. The people I met and places I went to will stay with me the rest of my life and cancel out an uncomfortable hostel experience… even the European techno.
Tomorrow’s post: Central Park Brunch with Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner and organizations focused on sex trafficking/ sex work.
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