“Donald Bentley Food Pantry, 2405 Loch Raven Road, Baltimore, MD 21218” by Baltimore Heritage is marked with CC0 1.0

January 2nd, 2021. A teenager and his younger sister were checking out in front of me in the grocery store yesterday when their EBT card declined. Their basket had a handful of basic staples, all covered within the restrictions of government sponsored programs to help hungry families cover their monthly grocery bills. The silence that followed was heavy. The younger sister pulled on her brother’s sleeve to whisper something in his ear. The cashier looked up at me, giving them a moment of privacy.

I tried to think of ways to offer to pay for their groceries without embarrassing them…

Photo credit: Pexels

You may be someone who means well, but is sometimes accused of mansplaining. Or maybe you suspect you might be mansplaining, because the people you have been talking to have been nodding without saying anything for the last few minutes and they start to look bored/distracted or there is a weird silence when you stop talking… sound familiar?

These are a few suggestions I’ve discussed with other colleagues when we think about what makes some conversations and collaborations more productive than others. Research, like so many other things, is an inherently creative process. Whenever the environment feels overly dominated by…

A story of powerful organizing

Election night 2016: Sheriff Joe Arpaio is voted out of office. Community organizers in Arizona peacefully accomplished a task that had previously seemed impossible: In the same year that Donald Trump was elected, they took down one of the most extreme anti-immigrant politicians in the United States. Through art-infused protests and community-building efforts, the organizers built the bridges needed within Phoenix to vote Arpaio out of office. What politicians would like us to forget, art forces us to remember.

These citizens’ commitment to long-term organizing shows us how we can stand with other immigrant communities — not just in Arizona…

Photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection / flickr

This is a rough outline of how I structured my application year. I am sharing it for others who are trying to figure out how to juggle a full time job and the demanding workload that comes with grad school applications (both on a technical level and a “how and when I asked for help” level. This is how I scheduled my year (2016) to turn all of my applications for my Ph.D. program in by December’s deadlines.

January 2016:
— looked into programs that appealed to me, so I was inspired and had started building my lists of schools…

Photo credit: Nicolas Nova / flickr

Let me set the scene: Perhaps you are someone looking for your first job or you are someone looking to switch jobs and want to learn more about what is out there. In this process, you are doing unpaid research to see what exists, where you could go, and how to market yourself in the labor market. Let’s say you encounter someone online whose job you think is especially interesting and you could imagine yourself doing, so you decide to approach them for an informational interview.

I study labor and serve as an organizer because I believe it’s the best…

image credit: mararie / flickr

I found Michael sitting in a café on Yale’s campus early on a Saturday morning. I arrived to write up my questions before my last interview on my revisit for the Ph.D. program at the Yale School of Management and was surprised to see someone else here. The café had only been open for 20 minutes and the campus was mostly empty while most of the students were on spring break. There was room at the table beside him, so I sat down and asked him, “what are you reading?”

“A book about eye examinations and diagnosis. It’s for an…

Targeting undocumented immigrants affects our entire community


The first time I noticed the scars left by deportations was while I was volunteering as a translation assistant in a legal office serving migrant workers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I was translating testimonies of unimaginable violence in El Salvador from Spanish into English hunched over a desk alone, trying to process what I was reading. I had to take breaks every so often those first few days. I was 16 and couldn’t imagine people doing these things to each other. …

Image credit: David Hodgson

First, why would you do this? Aren’t we all told it’s safer to avoid discussing politics in the first place?

My response: if we can’t talk about politics, the silos we find ourselves in now will last forever. The gulf between political parties grows and our inability to find common ground and discuss the values and behavior we accept (or don’t) from our politicians becomes impossible. …

Photo credit: Melanie

I believe that one of the best ways to close to wage gap is for each of us to commit to mentoring and supporting our teammates as they negotiate their contracts. I have been really lucky to have great mentors who helped me think through my projects and contracts, so I try to pay it forward with my coworkers friends too.

I advocate for other workers, because I think being honest and supportive upfront reduces turnover and builds a better team.

There are a few ways that I do this to support my communities. …

I’ll tell you now, it doesn’t have a grand ending.

Credit: Barry Silver

What does it look like?

It looks like a conversation where you are uncomfortable because you need to state your values and your “truths” in ways you’ve taken for granted for a long time. You are uncomfortable because while these truths have guided your life and run in parallel to your decisions forever, you now have to say WHY and HOW they are true… possibly encountering that moment where you might have been wrong, or even just a little off, for a long time.

You are uncomfortable because you have to grapple with the externalities of decisions and systems that…

Diana Enríquez

Ph.D. Candidate at Princeton (Labor, Technology, Law, and Informal Economies) | previously research + content at TED

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