I’ve been sitting with this volunteer word in an attempt to understand what it means, where it comes from, and how it seems to stand above the single principle on which I was raised, and its effect in this day and age.
Growing up, we are taught the principle of Ubuntu, ‘I am because you are’. This means the continuous extending of self for the other, this means that, people ‘volunteer’ to be more than their individual lives, that they ‘volunteer’ their time and efforts for the greater good of humanity, the reminder that my every effort to make you succeed and hold space with you, creates the world we want to live in tomorrow.
And so there I was, paging through recent days of,
Conservation looking new, and the coined word, now looking like one,
Veganism looking new, and the coined word, now looking like one,
Volunteering and volunteerism looking new and looking like one, and most recently, listening in as the statement ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, was used almost as though it was new and coined by one.
These luxuries have often been the only way that Black people could survive in the midst of the many worlds of subjugation and oppression. The re-inventing and essentially, gentrifying of these words, in whichever way you use them, perhaps we could look to acknowledge where they come from too, and in whatever expansion is added to, acknowledge where it comes from.
As Ocean conservation is beginning to have the conversation that includes the Ocean facing communities and are now looking to save oceans and its people,I hope this is the baseline through which we engage, acknowledging what is and has always been, and then collaborating towards an end that belongs to both.
Rose Santana was born in Dominican Republic and moved to Germany. As a child she would always go out to sea with her grandfather who was a fisherman and eventually earned a Bachelors degree in Biotechnology.
She knew what she really wanted was to study the ocean though, so eventually she moved to Miami, Florida and earned her second Bachelors degree in Marine Biology.
She was the President of her schools chapter of the Society of Women in Marine Science and eventually was selected to participate in a 21-Day research expedition in the Canadian Arctic, where she used drones and ROVs to look at ice formations. Currently she is the lab manager of the Aquatic Ecology and Ecotoxicology laboratory at Florida International University, where she studies the effects of metal contaminants on fish behavior, primarily predator-prey interactions.
Happy New Week everyone!