Anna McGuiness, a third-year student at Simmons University, is a student leader and a change-agent who is confident in her deeply considered beliefs. At the start of the pandemic, Anna recognized a need in her community and responded by helping to form the Keene Mutual Aid Project, which she will continue to develop as a part of this fellowship. COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic have devastated the region and revealed systemic inequalities that prevent people from accessing services, which is a gap the project is working to fill. Anna’s focus will be on expanding the mutual aid project’s reach to specific vulnerable populations, and to build volunteer capacity to start a planned community garden project in the spring of 2023.
As a community organizer, I am dedicated to making my home a safe and caring place for everyone. I believe in digging into social problems at the very base, seeking to heal political and community trauma at home through mutual aid, community care, and empowering disenfranchised groups through advocacy. I have worked extensively with the unhoused community, extending resources and building connections with them as neighbors. I help to lead a region-wide mutual aid project distributing supplies to people in need on a weekly basis which I will be working to expand in my time with the Newman Fellowship program. I have also worked on projects to decrease police power and increase social services and racial justice in my town, all of which are key components in making people feel at home. I believe in collaborating closely with the local government, my neighbors, and my friends to make the world that we want to live in real, to demand what we deserve for our community, and to imagine creative solutions to the problems we are facing.