Hello Open Spirit Community! My name is Aliyah Collins, and I will be serving as a Field Education Intern at Open Semester for the year! I want to share just a little information about myself, my academic and personal interests, and what I will be doing at Open Spirit for the year. I was born and raised in Jackson, Tennessee, a small town east of Memphis, Tennessee. I received my undergraduate degree from Fisk University, a Historically Black University in Nashville, Tennessee. At Fisk University, I became interested in racial justice, and liberation struggles through the lens of theology. After finishing my degree at the outset of the pandemic, I decided to continue exploring my academic interest by attending graduate school. I am currently a 2nd-year Mdiv (Master of Divinity) student at Harvard Divinity School.
Although my program does not require an academic focus, my interest is around Black liberation theology and African indigenous Spiritualties. This year, I am beginning my field education work which requires me to gain learning experiences that integrate theory and practice to develop professional attitudes. I choose Open Spirit as my placement site because of the emphasis on Multifaith dialogue and practices that target healing of the mind, body, and soul. Multifaith learning and engagement is a very important tool in my own work surrounded around community organizing within black liberation struggles. At Open Spirit, I will be participating in the Multifaith Collaborative, where I will be a part of the planning process. I am also planning my own event under the Collaborative centered on racial justice. Outside of the Collaborative, I will be working on the Resilience Project with Rev. Debbie Clark and Resiliency committee to measure the impact of Covid-19 on the community and how Open Spirit has been a resource. I am very excited to learn and grow with the Open Spirit community for the academic year. I look forward to meeting everyone and hearing the sharing of stories.