Reverse the Trend, New York, NY
This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with a nonprofit organization called Reverse the Trend. Reverse the Trend works in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and abolition with the goal of democratizing the discourse around nuclear weapons policies. Specifically, the initiative’s mission is to amplify the voices of young people, primarily from the frontline communities that have borne a disproportionate amount of the weight of our nuclear legacy. In practice, this looks like forming connections with individuals and organizations within these communities and collaborating on events, advocacy efforts, and social media campaigns. During my time with Reverse the Trend, I was partially responsible for outreach to indigenous rights organizations concerned with self- determination and environmental justice, as well as social justice organizations dealing with issues of racial justice and human rights. I conducted meetings with activists associated with Peace Action New York State, the Poor People’s Campaign, and the Indigenous Environmental Network, among others.
Another rewarding aspect of the internship was planning a hybrid (in person and remote) event in New York City at the Selina Chelsea Hotel for the 76th Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima. The event featured speakers from various climate justice organizations, the United Nations, nuclear nonproliferation organizations, hibakusha (survivors of nuclear weapons), and even international diplomats. The event gave me an insight into the logistics of planning events such as reaching out to speakers, members of the media, and potential partner organizations. I was also able to learn more about the work being done around climate change and nuclear weapons. Despite being involved in the planning and execution of the event, I am sure that it was just as educational for me as it was for those in attendance. Speeches delivered by the hibakusha and people from the Marshall Islands were especially powerful given the material, detrimental impacts of United States nuclear policy on these two communities.
I believe that these incredible experiences will help guide me in my future endeavors, and have shaped my thinking with respect to my future career goals. While I am as of yet unsure whether my future career will necessarily be in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and abolition, meeting with so many different activists with such a broad range of interests and experiences has solidified my interest in nonprofit and advocacy work. This internship has helped me to better understand the connection between local and international peace. One activist with whom I had the opportunity to discuss these issues, George Friday of Peace Action, shared particularly profound insights about meeting marginalized communities where they are and tailoring your organization’s message to their needs, with the goal of empowering them. None of these experiences would have been possible without the generous support of the members of the Class of 1972 and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration. I would like to extend my gratitude to both for the opportunity to work towards a more equitable, just, and peaceful world.