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BLOG | Kirie’s New York Adventures: Workshopping

Kirstyne “Kirie” Lange has been selected as an intern for the Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP) in New York this summer. For the next nine weeks, she will be blogging for The Campanil about her experience.

A quick staff picture with a few faculty members. (Courtesy of Kirstyne Lange)

We held really great workshops during the third week!

Last Monday, we hosted the first part to a LGBTQ series of education for the young women at the Summer Institute. The activity was a “Coming Out Stars,” where each Nasher was given an paper star to write down their dreams, hopes and a family member they feel closest to on the tips.

After this, I read off various scenarios in correlation to the color of the stars and the results along the spectrum ranged from how easy to how difficult “coming out” to one’s family, friends and work place would be.

It was interesting to see how the Nashers responded with surprise and shock. Many realized their own privilege of being heterosexual and not having the same fear of having to come out to their loved ones.

A group photo with Regina Kelly last Tuesday. (Courtesy of Kirstyne Lange)

On Tuesday, Regina Kelly was our speaker. Due to the frequent raids in her small Texan town and being pinned with false charges of drug possession and intent to sell, Kelly teamed up with the ACLU in a landmark civil rights case. Her story was told through the film “American Violet,” that trailed her process of fighting the DA after he placed discriminative charges on the innocent members of Hearne, Texas.

A group shot taken at Princeton University. (Courtesy of Kirstyne Lange)

We all were really engaged with her story since we screened the movie the week before and it was an issue many Nashers saw happen in their own communities.

I have witnessed the same growing up in San Diego and then living in Oakland where family members, close friends and co-workers were caught up in the tides of a dysfunctional system.

Thursday’s workshop theme was “Healthy Relationships” so we staged “The Dating Game.” It was a collaborative workshop hosted by all six deans and we were given “good,” “bad,” “OK” or “sounds good” options, each represented by four contestants, to choose from. We emphasized on gender neutrality to allow everyone to better relate and define what a healthy relationship was and eventually the young women caught on.

From left to right: Lorena Estrella, Program Asst; Lytasha, Dean; Margarita, Dean; Me, Dean; Regina Kelly; Sharmelle, Dean; Maria, Dean; Melissa, Dean;Cecilia Clarke, Founder of Sadie Nash; and Tynesha McHarris, Program Coordinator. (Courtesy of Kirstyne Lange)

Each group was then given a bunch of verbs and they had to place them under a list for physical abuse, emotional abuse and not abuse. It was fascinating how many of the participants were trying to justify why biting or preventing someone from leaving were okay even they were considered forms of physical or emotional abuse. We provided them with the understanding that some of the simplest things may seem frivolous but were actually various forms of abuse that would happen when least expected. The young women responded very well and I hope our examples gave them a better idea on how to maintain healthy relationships.

Friday’s field trip to a local museum in Newark was cancelled due to train backups and extreme heat. Anyone who follows my Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr may have seen my postings about the 108 degree weather here. I’m a true Southern Californian girl; extreme heat and humidity are just not a pleasant mix!

Since the schedule was changed to a half-day, I headed out early on a train to Lindenwold, New Jersey to my cousin’s house who then drove me and his kids to Fairfax, Virginia for a nice weekend with my mom’s eldest brother, sister and family.

Kirstyne, center, with her baby cousins Sequoia on the left and Bryley. (Courtesy of Kirstyne Lange)

If you look at the photo on the right, you’ll see that I’m posed with my cousins. The little boy on the left, Sequoia, turned two on Friday so we had a little birthday party for him on Saturday and the other is my 2 1/2 year old cousin Bryley. I hadn’t seen Sequoia since he was 6 months old and that was my first time meeting Bryley so it was a ball to run and chase them and see how much they’ve grown up. It was a really great weekend, and luckily, I was able to dodge the heat with access to air conditioning.

Week Three is done and I realized that the Summer Institute is already halfway through. Next then you know, I’ll be boarding my flight to California!

Until then, I’m going to soak up as much of the East Coast as I can.

To keep up with Kirstyne, you can follow her on Twitter @QweenKirie.

Read more of her related posts here.

If you’re a member of the Mills community who’s interested in blogging about your summer adventures, contact for more info.