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Kelsey's picture

When deciding upon a username to use for this site, I decided that I wanted to fall somewhere between anonymity and publicly claiming my identity.  I have been taught my entire life to keep my identity private online and, to me, anonymity often feels like safety.  But I also believe that we are all responsible for what we say, online or not, and by using my name on my posts I feel like I am publicly claiming responsibility for what I say.  So I decided to fall somewhere in the middle and use only my first name- generic enough that people outside of this course will probably not know who I am, but specific enough that I feel ownership over what I am posting here.  

My thought process for picking an avatar went along similar lines- I immediately rejected using a picture of myself, because it feels more identifying than I am comfortable with.  I also wanted to use a photo I have taken, because I often take pictures of things that interest me and I feel more connected to them than to other people's photos.  

I took the image that I chose as my avatar last summer, when I was interning at the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office.  One day, I had to iron a flag for an event we were having, so I took it to the nearest flat space- the windowsill, from which I could see the actual United Nations across the street.  I took the photo to share with my friends because I found it funny, the contrast between my seemingly mundane task of ironing and the seemingly important, famous institution across the street.  I choose it now as my avatar because I think that what I choose to take photos of is very representative of who I am.  I like contradictions, ironies; I like to explore what feels funny or strange and think about why that is.  This photo is also one of the few I have of my internship, which was a transformative experience for me.  Before this internship, I was convinced that I wanted to move abroad after graduation and do social justice work in another country.  After spending a summer focused on international social justice work, however, I came to realize that I want to engage in social justice work in the United States, because I don't think it's right for me to enforce my Western-influenced ideas of social justice abroad while failing to address the vast inequalities that exist in my society.