Some of the websites that helped me get to know Maya better were:
http://mayaangelou.com/ It is Maya’s official website and has a lot of important biographical information and pictures of Maya which are hard to find anywhere else.
A page on Oprah’s website with all of the interviews she did with Maya Angelou, it is really helpful to see the videos of Maya talking freely because in many videos I watched she is either singing or reading poetry so I liked seeing her talking conversationally.
Night of the Notables was one of the few stressful instants I will probably remember for a life time, but the rewarding feeling of finishing eminent and the pride of our collective work in organizing an event that had been pretty successful overshadowed all of the stress around NotN. The excitement of people ready to animatedly speak at their learning centers about individuals that they are so passionate about, individuals that have made a big difference in their fields and sometimes the world, eclipsed the anxiety of eminent. NotN and everything leading up to it was no doubt hectic, but there were so many good things that night that made me forget about all my eminent worries.
One of the biggest lessons that I learned through eminent that stood out to me that night was that collective work is important. While setting up, taking down, and planning NotN, we had to rely on each other and work together to finish what needed to be done. The committees needed to talk to the others to accomplish their jobs. By the end of NotN, I felt like I had gotten to be part of many of the committees as we all helped each other out when we could in small ways with sorting foods last minute and helping a family at the door who had important learning center components. We helped and encouraged each other throughout the day and there was a sense of teamwork, relief, and respect that we had all finished this big project together. Teachers and parents too I think felt that sense of closure and accomplishment that night as they were big contributors to the project, editing and listening to speeches over and over again. I think that our teamwork made the night flow better as well as more thematic and that it was a big part of Night of the Notables.
Everyone had such amazing learning centers that were so interactive and informative. They were all so unique and different from each other and you could tell that a lot of hard work went in to creating them. The learning centers that I saw gave me a lot of ideas and high expectations for next year. I am pretty proud of my learning center, I think that I did a good job of recreating an environment from her life and a good job in my interactions with people—I am not much of a people person so I was surprised that it went so well and that I talked to so many people. For my learning center, I decided to re-create the library where Maya Angelou first began to read and write poetry because that is where she first got involved in the arts which later went on to be a huge part of her life as well as a big contributor to her success. However, I think that I could have made my learning center more thematic and relevant to big ideas as well as included more information about my eminent person. I think that I was so scared to have too much information that I didn’t include enough and though I got a lot of important points across by speaking, lots of people could not tell at first who I studied for eminent. I think I can improve by focusing less on the final product and looking more at the meaning behind my work or by asking more questions in class to clarify. However, I think that my mad-libs activity got people involved and and my slide show paired with the music and spoken word worked well to set the mood.
Another lesson that I learned during NotN is that though this process may be stressful, it is worth it and so rewarding. The final products were absolutely amazing, and there was lots great feedback from peers, family, and teachers. I thought that I would be worried about my project the whole night, but the night ended up being enjoyable for me too. The food was fantastic and the speeches were so much fun to listen to. I really liked having an event like this to wrap up a big project and to recognize as well as celebrate all of the work that we have done. The event’s atmosphere really helped me wind down, step back, and look at the project as a whole to asses everything I have done without being too involved in it still. I felt lots of satisfaction that we have finished this and with some success I might add. I was surprised that we all got so many things done. Before Night of the Notables, I was worried that I would just be tiered all night, but in reality I had such a good time and I felt so grateful to have an event like this to get some closure around eminent.
Night of the Notables was very memorable, for good and bad reasons—but mostly good. I think the two most important things that I got out of this was that collective work is really important as well as that together we can accomplish a lot and that though eminent might be hard at times, it is worth it to see all of your hard work come together on NotN. I also learned a lot about creating and presenting a learning center as well as what I can do to improve it for next year. NotN was no doubt worrisome, but I think that having a night like that to look at everything that everyone has accomplished is a really great way to end eminent.
Marcia Nozick “a founding member of EMBERS, Marcia Nozick has been CEO of this community economic development charity for 13 years. Driven by a passion for building sustainable communities, and under her vision and leadership, EMBERS has grown and achieved significant success. Starting as a small and innovative idea and growing to be a sustainable and viable member of Vancouver’s ongoing economic community, EMBERS has received many awards and accolades for its work in helping people create productive futures for themselves. Prior to joining EMBERS, Marcia was the coordinator of Healthy Communities in Winnipeg, associate editor and publisher of City Magazine, taught Community Economic Development at Simon Fraser University eight years and was an accomplished concert pianist. She holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning, has run her own small business and is the author of a Canadian bestselling book, No Place Like Home: Building Sustainable Communities (1992) that David Suzuki called “a bright beacon for a dark time, points to a health community as the goal of society, and provides a blueprint to achieve it. This is must reading.”” – Embers website
How it relates to my eminent person, Maya Angelou:
Marcia is a social activist that has made a great impact in Vancouver and has helped many people through her work. Through the non-profit organization she has started she has helped many low income people start successful businesses by financial backing and training. She has also helped many people who struggle to find and keep steady jobs transition in to full time jobs. Through her organization she has helped thousands of people and has truly mad an impact on the lives of the people in Vancouver. Many low- income households in Vancouver are becoming marginalized because they are living in an area that is increasingly becoming more suited for high-income households, and Marcia strives to help these people and give them a voice via her organization. Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist, but she also got involved in social activism, something that she is remembered for greatly. Through her work, Maya like Marcia, impacted the lives of many and gave them a voice. Both were empowered women in male dominated industries and helped people out of the goodness of their hearts. The two women have made an impact in their field that will never be forgotten and have touched the lives of countless people through their work. Maya and Marcia were both wrote important books and have raised awareness of important issues.
What made you start this company?
How has starting this non-profit changed you?
How has it changed the lives of the people around you?
Why do you do what you do?
How does doing this good work make you feel?
If you did this all over again, what would you change?
How has social activism changed since you started sine you started your non-profit?
What advice would you give to someone who would like to get involved in social activism?
Who do you look up to in this field?
How was your journey in creating your company?
Any other questions necessary—don’t be afraid to stray from the questions if others can lead me down a more interesting path.
I recorded our 15 minute interview and have written a rough transcript of the interaction, in reality, we talked a lot more in-depth about certain topics, but it would take too long to write it out as well, so I did my best to summarize the answers to the questions at hand.
Question 1: There was lots of gentrification going on in Vancouver. I studied city planning in university and volunteered in my community for such projects, but I wanted to really apply all that I had learned and to do something more because it was and still is an urgent issue.
Question 2: Well when I first came to Vancouver, I was an academic. I taught and learned at universities in the area about the topics of my passion. After I decided to start this company, I got to apply all of the theories I had taught and learned about and I got to set them in action. I became a much more hands on person, who thinks about the real life application of those ideas and theories rather than just studying them without thinking of the implications. I became more open to new ideas.
Question 3: I think that the people around me have just become more aware of the issue of gentrification. I think that the people that I helped through my organization are now making a bigger effort to improve their lives, and transition in to a surer life style, one where they don’t have to worry about where their next meal comes from or where they will stay for the night. Many people come in with problems like addiction, and I think that through this transitional program they learn to deal and overcome issues like that so that they can improve their lives.
Question 4: Hastings Street is the poorest postal code in all of Canada. Gentrification is part of that issue, and that is something that I can help with. These people often don’t have a voice and they get relocated because they can’t always stop it. It’s really hard for them, and I want to help them.
Question 5: Doing this makes me feel happy, but very tired at times. Sometimes I feel kind of stressed, but running this company mostly makes me feel tiered because its long hours, it is so rewarding, but I feel very tiered after a long day at work.
Question 6: When we first started this company, we made lots of mistakes, if I went back to do this again, I would try make less of those mistakes. Also, I would just start getting involved at a younger age.
Question 7: Well, most of the issues seem to be a lot more urgent now. Also, younger people are beginning a lot more and social media is a huge part of activism now. I’ve seen young people do such amazing projects through so many different mediums.
Question 8: Just start at a young age. If you are passionate about something, don’t wait to get involved, get involved as soon as you can.
Question 9: I know this sounds crazy, but I really look up to Barak Obama. Whenever I feel stressed about what I have to deal with, I think about all of the pressure that he is under and how well he handles it.
Question 10: Well, I went to university and got a master’s degree in city planning. I wrote a book about sustainable communities. Then I moved to Vancouver to teach at SFU, for a big portion of my life I was an academic and was really focused on theories and ideas. After living in Vancouver for a while I saw that gentrification was a big issue, and I wanted more than to tell people about it in my classes. And so, I started Embers with the hope that I could help low-income households live sustainable, happy lives. In the beginning we made a lot of mistakes, but we learned from them and moved on. When I first came here, Vancouver looked so different. The office building that we are in today was abandoned for a long time until the government took it over and sold it. This neighbourhood we are in used to be a low-income housing. Now because this city has been pushed out more and more, these poor people have had to re-locate too many times. I really wanted to do something about that, help them have more stable lives.
Question 11: Just follow your passion and start to follow it when you’re young.
I think that interviewing Marcia gave me some insight on what social activism looks like today and what it looked like in the past. I have more appreciation for how hard the work in this field is. After conducting this interview, I have a better understanding of Maya’s motives behind her activism. I better understand what may have fuelled her to do what she did, how doing this good work made her feel and what she may have gotten out of it. I have also learned more about how small actions can impact people greatly. However, I think that the most important thing that I derived from the interview is that you should always follow your passions. Now that I have conducted this interview, I know why passion is such an important thing to have and why you should follow it. I understand that it places a much bigger role in social and civil rights activism than I had anticipated. Through this interview, I think that I learned why Maya was so successful at what she did, she followed her passions and never gave up. She started young and never gave in to the social pressure to have a more regular and consistent job. Maya followed her dreams and got to do what she loved as well as helped people because of her work, just like Marcia.
Here is my eminent person talking about their personal goals for the future, watching this video makes me more excited about getting to know her better.
When I did my initial blog post about eminent at the beginning of the project, I didn’t really talk about my personal goals for this project and how they will affect me. So, for my document of learning, I have decided to explore some of the things that I hope to get out of the eminent project. Through this project, I hope to improve my public speaking skills, to learn how to better conduct a more independent project—learn to manage my time better, and to learn more about social and civil rights activism.
Public speaking is the number one fear people have in North America, above things like death and spiders. Public speaking is something that definitely gets me nervous too, I know that when I heard that Eminent involved us doing a speech, I suddenly got very tense. However, I really want to overcome this fear and get better at public speaking. I have always been okay at speeches, but I have never been very memorable. That is one of my goals for this project, to get better at public speaking and try to make my speeches more interesting. I think that improving upon this skill will definitely help me in life since public speaking is something that will I will always have to do. Improving my public speaking skills would help me get better at presenting my ideas with more ease and accuracy. I know that sometimes, when I am nervous, I don’t quite get my ideas across very well, so I think that cultivating that skill set will help me be much clearer about my thoughts. I am actually very happy now that this project includes a presenting portion because this is a goal I would not peruse in my own time, but something that really is crucial to develop. I hope that when I do my reflection on this project, I can say that I have gotten better at speaking in front of large groups of people and that my speeches have become more interesting to listen to.
A really big part of TALONS is the independent projects that we are given the opportunity to do, like Eminent and In-Depth. However this style of learning is still a pretty new concept to me. I hope to get better at conducting independent projects, specifically, I hope to get better at making schedules of learning and sticking to them via the Eminent Person Study. If I improve upon the skill set required to achieve my goal, it will definitely help me in the future when we do in-depth, or even later on in university when most of our learning is independent. This is an important skill set to learn because I will need to use it a lot in TALONS and throughout life. Getting better at managing my time will definitely help me in nearly everything that I do and reduce my stress around bigger projects. I hope that through this process I will get better at creating realistic timelines for myself and keeping to them. By the end of this project, I hope that I can look back and see that I have stuck to the timeline I have made for myself—so far I am only a little bit behind, so I hope that by the end I will have caught up.
One of the hardest things I had to do in this project so far is pick just one person to study, there are so many amazing people out there who have done amazing things that I want to learn about. However, I could only pick one, but when I looked at all the people I was interested in, I found that most of the people I wanted to study were involved in some form of social or civil rights activism. Since nearly the beginning of the project, I made it a personal goal to learn more about that field no matter who I chose. I wanted to learn about this topic because it is something that I get very passionate about and would like to get involved with it as much as I can. I think that learning more about social and civil rights activism is important because I know that I will use that knowledge in my life often, and incorporate it more into school work or even study as well as practice it for my In-depth study. This topic is something that I am very passionate about and the more that I learn about it and the more that I have the chance to get involved with it, the better. Most of my goals so far have been more academic based, but having some more individual objectives about my personal passions is important too. I hope that when I reflect on my Eminent Person Study I can say that I have a much deeper understanding of social and civil rights activism and some of its implications—in the past and in the present.
So far, I think that I am on the right track to accomplishing my goals and I think that by the end of the project I will have fulfilled most of them. So far, I think that my public speaking skill shave improved from last year and I think that I have gotten better at doing independent projects but I didn’t learn as much about social and civil rights activism. Through my eminent person I have learned more about other fields that they were involved in and I think that for this project, knowing more about those fields is of better benefit to me. However, I am still determined to learn more about social and civil rights activism through Maya Angelou as it was a big part of her life.
I hope that through this project, I can improve on my public speaking skills, my independent studying skills—especially time management, and that I will learn more about social and civil rights activism. All of these skill sets that achieving these goals entails will help me short term and long term with all of my personal and school related projects. I hope that when I look back at my journey through the eminent project that I can say that I have achieved or have made progress on all of my goals.