As a Sociology major and American Studies minor at Boston College I have taken a wide range of interdisciplinary courses. These courses – ranging from a basic Introduction to Sociology class to more intricate classes like Inequality in America or African World Perspectives – have certainly expanded my general knowledge of global realities, varying perspectives among those who study these realities, and concrete ways to study societal issues and develop theories surrounding their existence and possible solutions.
This summer I am an intern at the Milwaukee Health Department and working closely with the head coordinators of the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission. As an agent of the commission, I will be going into a correctional facility and interviewing inmates who are locked up for either a gun offense or auto theft – both phenomena that have increased dramatically in Milwaukee over the past year.
My position is not to pry information from the offender; rather, I see myself as their friend who hopes to, through conversation, get to the core of the issue of the high crime rate in Milwaukee, a city plagued by socioeconomic and racial inequality and recently named the worst city to live in if you are a black American. My classes and teachers in the Sociology Department have repeatedly taught me that there are infinite factors that play into societal issues such as these, so I am more encouraged than ever to lead this project that hopes to give marginalized populations a voice.
The main “edge” BC has given me is confidence. Having grown close to teachers renowned in their respective arenas of study, what I have noticed is that even experts struggle from time to time, not just in their fields of study, but with everyday problems that face us all. It has taught me that all of us humans are incredibly fallible – something that gives me confidence to not fear mistakes and also, for my internship specifically, realize that no person is better than another. I will never look at a man or woman behind bars as a “criminal.” We must hear each person’s whole story.
Written by Jonathan Leuthner, BC Class of 2017