Mouth Piece

By Priyanka Borpujari | October 16, 2012.

It is always interesting to go for public talks and give an ear to people’s politics, perceptions, efforts, weaknesses, strengths, needs, desires, dreams… in participating as listeners, we expose ourselves to new worlds hitherto unvisited. In participating as speakers about or work, we expose ourselves to realms that are yet to be explored.

During “Caste: A Conversation” that was held at MIT, I had the chance to speak about the Dom community in Bihar. Here is my presentation, followed by a detailed and a slightly-diverging and yet significant discussion. The audience understood Hindi very well, which is why the talk is peppered with Hindi words, to explain certain situations better:

Other interesting talks that I have attended so far include one by Jimi Two Feathers, who spoke with much-needed passion about ‘Occupation, Decolonisation and the Struggles of Native Peoples’. Everything he said reminded me of the struggles of indigenous peoples in India.Of course, there are also those talks given by people on war and violence, which are tackled by equations with Calculus as their aid, and there is just no mention about the human aspect of war. There is really nothing I can do about it (maybe I can – maybe I should ask back tough questions), but I am happy that there are others who are talking at the humane level too.

I also had the chance to volunteer with Eastern Service Worker’s Association (ESWA), which is a membership-based organisation that caters to the needs of those who are not protected by labour laws in USA. These mostly include people in the lower rungs on the service industry. I canvassed with other volunteers, across a small section of Dorchester. We had to go door-to-door telling people about ESWA and how they have been helping people with very basic utilities like electricity and food supplies. The idea of poverty in USA, while still inside nice, white, pristine houses, hit me as a bitter irony. Speaking opportunities lines up for the next few months (details of some still being finalized):

– The Women and Global Development Forum of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in Chicago, on November 1, along with Terry Odendahl of Global Greengrants Fund.

– Speaking to students of Gender, Development, and Globalization Course of UMass Boston, on November 19, 2012.

– Speaking to students of Introductory Development Studies Course at Clark University, Worchester, MA, sometime in next semester. A date could not be fixed for this semester due to clashing calendars.

– Presenting at the Myron Weiner Seminar on International Migration, on February 5, 2013

– Interacting with an integrated class of undergraduate students and school students at Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, Iowa. Also speaking at the Academic and Cultural Events Series (ACES) at the same venue, on February 7 and 8, 2013.

But at this moment, I am most excited about attending the IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards, which will take place on October 24, 2012, in New York. I am excited to meet the winners, and share space with some of the most amazing people in news journalism, many of whom have inspired me in my journey as a journalist.

Exciting times ahead!