There seems to be a dark cloud hugging America at this time and many are wondering how to break from it. The weight of people’s pain, confusion, anger, and the sound of the Bob Marley’s redemption song seems to be flooding the streets of Seattle. The day to day conversation seems to be torn into two questions. “How are you feeling and how did this happen?” Two questions I have no answer for and most days and I’m too tired to try. A white women asked me today, what can I do? I wasn’t sure whether to give her the answer she wanted to hear or the words I wanted to shout. She was a nice woman but the conversation left me with a sour taste and I wasn’t ready for it this morning. I just wish people had asked me these questions before the election. I told her to get involved, talk to her neighbors, and create change. I haven’t lost hope but some days seem easier than others. I also don’t know if I have the answers, I only know how I feel. As I think about where I spend most of my days, I find a sense of relief going to work at the Ethiopian Community in Seattle.
The group of people I work with are not just co-workers but family and the people we serve our not just clients but my brothers and sisters.
Our after school program represents the importance of making sure our kids our not left behind but ahead of the game. These 18 students make me want to work harder. I am pushed each day by their smiles, struggles, and triumph. I know ECS isn’t safe from this new world we are about to enter but the family’s that are coming in, the kids that we help and the individual we are fighting for has a power in itself. The dynamic of this office isn’t like any place I have ever worked. Being able to work with people that look like me and better yet have the same values is the greatest comfort I could ask for. I am no longer the minority – I am one of many young Ethiopian adults serving my community!
Liya is a first year fellow, serving at the Ethiopian Community in Seattle.