As my year as an intern student here at PJALS comes to a close, I have come to notice how my time here has impacted my life on how I view the world and how I have learned and developed skills on how to become a social change agent and community organizer.

CassandraI had the opportunity of learning social work at the mezzo and macro levels and have valued every experience within them. I worked on policy issues such as the Fair Chance Hiring Act and helped with the beginning stages for the Immigration Initiative that will be on the November 2017 ballot. Working on these two issues gave me confidence and hope for a better future even when it seems that moving to the next steps will take time, I know that eventually it will get there! I know that PJALS has given me a voice to make a difference and I have never questioned because I do believe that I have made a difference in all the work that I have done.

My best memory at PJALS would definitely be putting the Action Conference all together. Even though this was a time consuming event, all that mattered was when it all came together and I could take a step back and admire all that I have done to make it a success not only for PJALS but for everyone that attended. I even had the chance to be a participant in the event and attend workshops that I felt passionate about which I loved because it gave me a better insight on topics where I could advocate for and become more involved as an activist.

Another one of my favorite experiences at PJALS was when I attended the rally for, “Remembering 13 Years of War in Iraq”. This rally has really stuck with me ever since it happened because it brought to light how more than half of my life, the U.S. military has spent fighting in wars and this is not how it should be. Another powerful moment that occurred in the event was the releasing of 13 dove shaped balloons which represented the 13 years of U.S. occupation followed by a number of how many lives were lost, it was a very eye opening moment for me to hear those numbers being read aloud. The U.S. military is teaching younger generations that fighting in wars is a normal way of life, which in fact it is not. We need to look to better and more peaceful solutions for solidarity overseas.

All in all I am very sad that my year at PJALS is coming to an end but everything that I have learned here will resonate with me in my everyday life. I do have a voice and it will be heard! I will forever be grateful that I got to experience and grow with such an awesome staff. PJALS engages everyday people to build a just and nonviolent world and now I can say that I have participated in doing so but this is just the d that beginning! You have not heard the last from me!