As everything is changing within the program, my internship has also undergone some modifications, too. Both last semester and this semester, I have been doing work in an organization known as “Espacio Afro,” formerly called “Conciencia Afro.” The organization focuses on work concerning racialized groups and promotes community-building within these groups in Madrid. While in Madrid, I worked along side another intern from the program to restructure the organization’s library. We sifted through all the books, alphabetizing them by author and categorizing them. We separated African authors from diasporic authors and divided fiction from non fiction. Sadly, just as we were creating a system to list all the books and keep track of who borrows what, we both had to return to the US.
Luckily, the program worked with my supervisor to find a way that I could complete my internship from home. After the library was organized, my next task was to work with a team that is contributing contentto the online magazine run by Espacio Afro, called Revista Negrxs. Thus, I am now completing my internship hours by writing articles to be published in the magazine. I have been working closely with my supervisor and everyone else that is working on the magazine to share our ideas through a group chat and even have video conferences every so often. Everyone seems to be working well despite the quick changes we all had to make to our routines, and the magazine is growing by the week.
Since the organization is centered a lot around blackness, I have chosen to write my first article entry about my hair. Although I consider my afro to be something very personal, I think it is an important part of me and how I define myself. I also believe it is the first thing people see when they look at me, and my hair affected many of my experiences in Madrid and will continue to wherever I go. It has become something so remarkable in my physical appearance yet so invisible in conversations—or lack thereof—surrounding race, hence my choosing to discuss it myself.
One of the things I learned at my internship and during my time in Spain is that sometimes we may want to take on the task of starting the conversations that are not being had while bearing in mind that it is not our obligation to do so. During my time in Spain, the only times I had conversations pertaining to race were in the program center or in my internship. It was discussions in classes like “Identities and Intersectionality in Spain” that prompted classroom dialogues and took these talks beyond that space. It delights me to have earned this opportunity to publish and share my perspective as a foreigner entering Spain as opposed to the rest of the team that is more used to Spain’s way of turning a blind eye to what things we are discussing. It is an interesting way to expand my Spanish vocabulary pertaining to activism by putting it into practice through writing while considering more than solely what goes on in the US.
Nicole Richards (Nico), student blogger primavera 2020