A Place of Acceptance: Notes from a GLIDE Emerging Leaders Intern

In the months leading up to my summer internship at GLIDE, it seemed that everyone I spoke to knew what type of experience I would have. My teachers, my family, my friends – anyone who knew of GLIDE would say things like, “Life-changing experience,” “Eye-opening,” “Unbelievably loving and accepting atmosphere.” Maybe it was a natural youthful skepticism. Maybe it was doubt from the recent spread of global violence and sadness, and its pervasive accompanying rhetoric. Maybe it was my very own degree of detachment from and fear of these forces. I didn’t believe what everyone seemed to tell me. I had few doubts of the meaningful, needed programs offered by GLIDE, but I had trouble imagining such a community of radical love, acceptance and strength.

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Some of our wonderful interns in our Emerging Leaders program this summer! Jake Calthorpe is second from the right in the back row. 

During the initial stages of the Emerging Leaders Internship, I, along with my fellow interns, was oriented to GLIDE’s programs and values in an intense two-week period of “Immersion.” By the end of the second week, we went through a self-selection process to determine the programs in which we would each work. I elected to work part time in Communications and part time in Fund Development, gaining exposure to the crucial behind-the-scenes work done at GLIDE. I work on projects ranging from an analysis of GLIDE’s social media platforms to aiding in the GLIDE Legacy Movement. On Fridays, after 4 days apart working in our programs, the interns come together for a day of reflection both on our work and on increasingly important topics such as internalized oppression.

In the time I have been here, my expectations and preconceptions have been routinely challenged. From Sunday Celebrations, to Recovery Circles, to Men In Progress sessions, to serving in the Meals Program, I have been astonished by the degree of energy, love, appreciation and optimism I have seen here. I have felt a high level of respect from and between GLIDE’s staff and those who use its programs. At GLIDE I have experienced a communal desire not to run from problems, but to acknowledge and address them. Despite growing tension and distance in our society, GLIDE seems to remain a place of acceptance. Eight weeks is not nearly long enough to work at GLIDE, but it is long enough to recognize its importance. I still cannot say if my experience here is best summed up by phrases I heard like “Life changing.” I may not even be able to sum up this experience in a single phrase or expression; the combination of learning and growth on professional and personal levels feels to complex. In no way, however, does my inability to sum up my experience take away from its value.

Jake Calthorpe is a rising junior at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He is majoring in Social Policy.
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Posted in Emerging Leaders, GLIDE Team
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Celebrating Rev. Cecil Williams today! Leave some well wishes for the Minister of Liberation in the comments! Better yet, wish him a happy birthday in person at #SundayCelebration this weekend! #unconditionallove #fromthearchives #thisdayinhistory #radical @glidesflegacy @shakasenghor @feliciahorowitz @dnwenig @zendesk @mrdannyglover @goapele @vbozeman @ebay_newsroom @sfchronicle @hoodline “My family had that sense about them, a sense of caring. Seeing people as they are, rather than as we would like for them to be. And so that melded in my soul and in my life. And my pathway and my journey has been to say: I’m gonna be inclusive.” —Rev. Cecil Williams

Today we wish a very happy birthday to Rev. Cecil Williams, GLIDE's beloved Co-Founder and Minister of Liberation. We remain eternally grateful for all that he’s done, and continues to do, for the people of the Tenderloin, San Francisco, and the world through the power and example of unconditional love. #unconditionallove #radical #livinglegend #fromthearchives #thisdayinhistory "Eric understands that recovery takes time& compassion." Learn more about our wonderful Community Safety and Training Team on our blog; link is in our profile! #RealTalk #FacesOfGLIDE photo credit: Alain McLaughlin Did you miss Lillian Mark's inspiring words this past Sunday at Celebration? Don't worry—we're sharing her experiences as Manager of GLIDE's Community Safety and Training Team on our #RealTalk blog in a two-part series this month! Big thanks to Lillian for her loving words and inspiring commitment to GLIDE's mission. Click the link in our profile for the full post. "This role has been the most challenging and soul-saving time for me at GLIDE. It has been an absolute honor to work on this team. We help keep the doors wide open for as many people as possible. We are the extended family for people who need and want it, and they are my family. We are there for the good days and the bad days. The team teaches me a lot. Let me tell you about the other day..." https://glidesf.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/leading-with-heart/

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