Thursday, May 27, 2010
Intern Spotlight: Caitlin Barrow
This week the AFSC-Atlanta office loses a valuable staff member, and AFSC has decided it's time for a long overdue look into what has driven this dynamic intern to become so dedicated to social justice work over the last several years. Caitlin is leaving Atlanta to take a year off from school to travel. We look forward to her swift return, but until then...we'd like to recognize the incredible work Caitlin has been doing and encourage her to continue it wherever her journey may take her.
Caitlin's connection with AFSC begins in 2007 in Brunswick, GA, where she was attending high school. That year the State of Hope (Eyes Wide Open) tour came through Caitlin's town. She was so moved by the tour that she decided to get involved in peace and justice work. Tim made a deal with her that next year's tour would come through Brunswick again if she would organize it. True to her word, Caitlin got all her friends together and helped organize the stop for the 2008 State of Change Tour. Throughout the year of working on this event, she became active in the local Glynn Peace group, where she formed the Glynn Peace Youth Division to get more young people involved.
In 2008, Caitlin graduated from high school and moved to Atlanta to attend Georgia State University. She continued her involvement with AFSC more directly and eventually came on staff as a part-time intern. She started the Progressive Student Alliance at Georgia State University, which has grown into a vibrant, multi-issue group that has taken on countless important projects. She helped organize the Cost of War speaking tour, the "Be the Change" Youth Convergence, and the ongoing legislative efforts to limit recruiters' access to young people. We asked Caitlin a few questions about her work, and here is the gist of what she said.
Q: What's your motivation for doing this kind of work?
A: The more I learn about injustices and how they're interconnected, the more upset I get and the more I recognize the need for change. I wouldn't feel comfortable with knowing all the things I've learned and letting these things go on.
Q: Were you exposed to these ideas a lot growing up?
A: Not in the political context. My parents are Catholic and taught us to really take care of people, and I just kind of transferred that to the bigger picture.
Q: What has been your favorite part of your work?
A: Networking on the state-wide level because it's so important for the rural areas and pretty f****** radical--more radical and impactful in the small towns.
Q: What's the take-home message that you've gotten from this work?
A: You have to look at things from different contexts. You can see different forms of oppression and can't turn your back on that. Everything looks different.
Q: What skills have you gained from your work?
A: Meeting people where they are, facilitating meetings, talking to strangers, event planning, fundraising...
Q: How do you see yourself being involved in social justice work in the future?
A: It's changed my attitude and made me more proactive. I'll always be involved in some capacity. I want to be an art teacher, so staying involved in art and education will be big.
Q: What are you going to miss?
A: Friends and relationships, that personal connection with everyone here working for a common purpose.
Caitlin left an immeasurable impact on all whose lives she touched and the whole state of Georgia. We here in the Atlanta office cannot express how proud we are of Caitlin's many accomplishments and how much we are going to miss working alongside her. We wish her the best in all her travels.
Erica Schoon and Tim Franzen
American Friends Service Committee