Max Silverman, Bates College
My work thus far has centered around the principle of building and connecting diverse communities on the basis of mutual growth and understanding. I vehemently believe in the power of engaging difference, and in confronting systems of privilege and oppression at a cross-cultural confluence of the two. My action in regards to addressing structural inequities – both in my approach to mental health activism and educational access – reflects this mantra, always mobilizing people to engage with the transformative power difference holds. I dedicate my life to self-reflective social change work, and undoubtedly see the dismantling and deconstruction of systems of oppression as my vocation. The fight against structural stigmatization of mental illness – especially as intersects with issues of racial and gender equity – will be centered in my future work (reinforced by my degree in education and inequality studies). Studying development and social change in Nepal this semester, I have the rare opportunity to perform community-based research that will continue to guide me as I seek out ways to effectively combat root causes of social issues on all levels, particularly as I begin to enter intercultural domains of social change work in more depth than I ever have before.