Top 5 Moments of Reflection from the NationSwell Summit


Last week, I attended the NationSwell 2016 Summit in New York with Camelback Fellows, Jerelyn Rodriguez and Jessica Santana. As we take this week to focus on reflection, I wanted to take a moment to share some insights from the day.


1. Why things don't feel okay. Morgan Dixon of GirlTrek got very real. “I will not pretend that I am okay after this election. It is a privilege for people to say, ‘Just focus on the work.’ It is hard to be fine and do the work when someone is grabbing you by the pussy, when someone is calling you a n******. One of my Trekkers called me and told me the story of how someone cut her off in traffic, and then this person leaned out their window and called her the n-word repeatedly. She said, ‘All I could do was laugh, what else is there to do? But in the back seat, my two sons heard everything. What am I supposed to tell them?’”


2. We must resolve to evolve. Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project gave a mini-talk on guided self reflection: “A brief exercise: write down a list of three qualities of you at your best. Next, write another list of qualities...but of you at your worst. We must accept that we are both lists. As soon as we accept ourselves wholly, then our faults no longer own us. Only then can we truly grow. I challenge you, when you go home tonight, ask a close friend or your significant other, ‘What is the one thing that would be most valuable for me to get better at, because it causes me or others suffering?’ We must resolve to evolve.”


3. Our veterans deserve better tech. Todd Park, the White House Technology Advisor, in partnership with the U.S. Digital Service, spoke on the intersection of tech and service: “We believe our veterans deserve better tech and access to resources, so one of our first big projects was to overhaul Our project ultimately had two major benefits: 1) the veterans got better healthcare, and 2) it set the precedent in government that we can accept change and try new things. There are so many ways to serve, and as the child of immigrants, I felt this calling to serve my country. This is how I knew that I could make a difference.”


4. Tolerance is not enough. Favorite moment from Jerelyn Rodriguez: I loved the All-Star pitches, especially that of Hack the Hood. Zakiya Harris, co-founder, spoke about how she lives in two worlds: one, an affluent working world where she is often one of the few people of color, and at night, she’s at home in her predominantly black neighborhood. People have to understand what that’s like for her to have that balance, and that it’s hard. I wrote down one of her quotes: “Tolerance is not enough.” We can’t just all come together and be in solidarity of those that are affected by recent attacks; we have to act.


5. It is time for us to step up. Favorite moment from Jessica Santana: The most powerful moment to me was when Chike Aguh, the founder of EveryoneOn (an organization driven to providing internet to millions of Americans without), stood up during a share out and said, “This is not the time for us to step back. It is time for us to step up.” The NationSwell event impacted on me how important storytelling to diverse audiences is going to be in our mission and our work.

Thank you NationSwell for hosting such a thoughtful event where diverse people could come together to discuss the actionable ways we can make a positive impact.

For more of our favorite moments from the NationSwell Summit, check out some of our tweets here:

perspectivesAmanda Tien