JV Reflection – Jethro Macaraeg (Portland, OR ’19-20)

The Fall BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, People of Color] Retreat led me on a path back home to myself. To me, returning “back home to myself’ meant recognizing, welcoming, and celebrating my truth – my identity lived out fully. I entered JVC Northwest bringing with me years of shame, frustration, and burden from navigating spaces where I was visibly and culturally distinct. My four months serving in Portland is no different. In a city that is demographically white-dominated and has a history of white supremacy, I am still experiencing these feelings that can be difficult to process in these areas. The retreat gave me a safe, welcoming, and affirming space to explore my feelings and racial identity that I long overlooked. Through group discussions, dyads, and activities, I felt empowered to reframe struggle as resilience and strength in the face of ongoing racial injustice. Over the course of the weekend, I felt part of a community that I could truly be myself around. Moving forward, I hope to recognize racial injustice within myself and those around me, to welcome pain as an opportunity for growth, and to celebrate my melanated culture with courage.

people eating family style at a table Food on a table Groups photo on balconyBIPOC retreat group photo






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