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Doing a DukeEngage independent project this summer was not something I anticipated or truthfully was entirely prepared for. However, as I have begun to work with my partner organization, Building from Below (BFB), I am reminded that I don’t always have to be entirely prepared, but rather just willing to learn.

My first week consisted of a lot of planning, researching, exploring, and collaboration. I am working as part of a team to outline and execute a movie dubbing process for films that will serve as educational materials for Spanish-speaking community members of the organization. This project is new, so this past week has been about navigating how exactly a dubbing process works and discovering what materials, timeline, and people that would involve.

I’m excited for this project because of the connection and importance it has for Spanish-speaking members of the community and also because it reminds me of why I wanted to spend the summer more intimately with this organization. Centered around community, principles of solidarity, equality, and cooperation are core tenants of BFB; this project is just one example of how conversation can be built across barriers. I’m excited for the end product but also for the process. I’m excited to build on my role in collective action and conversation about important topics like the ones explored in this space (civil and human rights, social and political action, worker struggles, racialized inequality) and other additional educational spaces provided by the organization and to expand on that with daily collaboration and contact.

It’s not entirely clear how this process will go or what the outcome will be, but I find comfort in knowing that it will be done in cooperation. As a way of reimagining how things are typically done, conversations and decisions are a collective process. I am eager to participate in this kind of process and learn how I can reorient my daily actions each day to match what I value better. To not be engaged only for the summer but in my everyday life.