PERSONAL STATEMENT: In 500-700 words, please describe what qualifications you have that makes you deserving of this scholarship. Also, please tell us about your current AND future academic, career, and personal goals.
From a scholarship app I completed tonight.
Over 5 years ago, I found myself across the country from my Brooklyn hood, in San Francisco, California. I didn’t have the money for somewhere to spend the night. At 30 years old, with Christmas spirit zipping around us, I sat in downtown San Francisco’s homeless shelter for single adults with at least a hundred others.
There were so many older people. There were so many with canes. There were so many women. I was 30, without a college degree or job.
Even in 2010, I was more than just someone fallen through the cracks. At College of New Rochelle’s School of New Resources, I was twice on the Dean’s List in 3 semesters (and 1 day studying CONT LABOR PROBLEMS). I had written, produced and performed music for over 10 years. I did my best to advance the Hip Hop Long Play (LP) Album as an artform, completing and releasing 5 solo LPs from November 2003 to May 2007. I had dated frequently, and had felt the power of love change me.
I quickly fell in love with San Francisco. The wide streets, late starts, and passionate people added up to a community putting its citizens in a position to succeed. One Sunday morning in Golden Gate Park, I looked over a sunwashed playground and happily visualized bringing my own young there to play. An American city was creating and enjoying fulfillment and personal acceptance together.
In November 2010, I had visited the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. I walked through several of New Orleans’ wards, and saw shuttered homes, some with (maybe) 6-year old spray painted plywood boarding empty, windowless concrete and wood homes. I found myself alone in the streets of New Orleans, too. The recovery from Hurricane Katrina appeared to have stalled somehow.
I am still homeless. Currently, my personal goal is to look my mother in the eyes, and hold her hand, and know it’s her. Continued military actions abroad, and everlooming failures of the economy and social fabric must be confronted first. In fact, I will have to shelve some academic goals in the coming year.
Next year, I will begin work with the new administration elected to Washington, D.C.- or I will enlist in the military. I was raised by a U.S. Army veteran in a domestic American war zone: Brooklyn’s East New York. I have worked with my art, music, example and life to make this home of ours more peaceful. I have to be willing to meet the level of commitment of my community of elders, and serve in defense of our home, and our personal freedom to enjoy life, and ourselves, and each other.
After the military – or service at The White House – I would love to continue my education formally. One long term academic program which interests me greatly is the dual degree program offered by the University of California. I would finish a degree in medicine from UCSF, and also receive a Masters degree in Science from UC-Berkeley. Right now, I would likely choose to pursue the science degree in Biology. Laney College is where I can pick up progress on that front.
Of course, after the training I’d receive in the U.S. Armed Forces, or after public service in such an impactful office, I might be eager to apply my talents to whatever local issues or problems are out there 3 or 4 years from now. Still, I would likely return to California to study, or to work.
Frankly, we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us here in America – and a great deal of it is structural, not just infrastructural. I have been meditating on the fact that in this fragmented-income, multi-career economy we patch solvency from, few are building personal financial safety nets. Automation is making us all overqualified for manual labor, and pushing us to find lifelong fields of study and higher purpose.
My career goals are still directed toward a life in public and the public life. It will include the work we are doing collectively to make more personal goals possible, and safe to attain to.