Parting Thoughts

Interning at ICOA this semester has been eye opening. I am a Culture and Communications major at Ithaca College with a Gender Studies minor, a concentration in Urban Anthropology, and a passion for writing. Though I’m a strong advocate for interdisciplinary studies, I’ve often worried about where my chosen path would take me. There seemed to be no clear trajectory for me in terms of a career or my next steps, but ICOA changed that. Ithaca City of Asylum is part of the larger International Cities of Refuge Network, an organization that connects writers and activists around the globe fighting for the protection and preservation of freedom of expression. In an organization like ICORN,  cities are where the change happens, and writing is the means by which people speak their truths.

One of my assignments this semester was to work on ICOA’s website. I  worked alongside board members Meryl Bursic and Kate Klein on the project, and we discussed our options surrounding the website’s visuals and organization. Kate asked me to look at a few other nonprofit sites and highlight what worked. I chose ICORN, Amnesty International, and City Harvest from my hometown of NYC, as inspiration. All of the sites are visually appealing, easy to navigate, bright, colorful, and clearly state their missions. I was teeming with excitement as I scrolled through the sites. As a senior looking ahead, the job openings page held particular intrigue…

As I leave ICOA, I no longer feel discouraged about my future. There are so many organizations out there doing work that is meaningful and important. ICOA has reaffirmed my stance importance of writing and freedom of expression. I believe we all deserve to have our voices heard, especially those experiencing political unrest, and the fight cannot stop until that right is universal. Lastly,  this internship has pointed to the potential of cities in becoming urban sanctuaries— places of creativity, culture, refuge, and hope.

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