Walaikum Salam, this is the proper response to the greeting “Asalam Alaikum” and it translates to “And unto you peace”.
I chose to start my first blog post with the greeting Asalam Alaikum because I think it is symbolic of the values that come with community work and community-based research, but after two months of working in the DREAM community, my definition of peace has evolved. It has involved to include trust, grace, dignity, respect, courage, and love.
The constant struggle against injustice is what community organizing is all about. Uniting a community in a nation that has never been so polarised. Then identifying the issues that seem so impossible to tackle to how deeply rooted they are in our institutions and communities while also mitigating the symptoms of the said problem. And finally, executing a plan with the people, to positively change our own spaces in line with our shared values and vision. Each step more difficult than the other, but that’s what makes the nonprofit space so fulfilling. To fight for the common good. To give your community a voice. To grant peace.
As a community-based researcher, I have had the honor of hearing the stories of community leaders and their struggle for peace, and with each story, each lived experience, I have learned more about what it means to strive for peace, and I hope to bring these values and principles into the spaces that I enter moving forward.
I am grateful for all that I have learned and experienced this summer, and lastly, would like to thank all of you for making DCERP such a great experience!