Throughout my young life I have had the privilege of social mobility. I am a strong advocate for community control and collaboration between people who want to play nice. I recognize my privilege and work to use it everyday as an “ally for development”
I am a suburban american middle class ‘white’ man in my third decade of life who has seen and experienced much of the world. I recognize my privilege in this world and will continue to try to understand what I see, because I know that there is so much more to behold than what can be seen.
Remember and learn from, but do not dwell on the past, always live in the present, and work towards the future.
I am happily married to the beautiful and amazing Nichole McLaughlin! We love to be peripatetic partners, utilize the local physical activity resources, climb things, and discuss various issues in international relations and global health. We are poised to take on the world together!
I currently work as a Community Health Worker in Detroit. As a counselor, I address the impacts of childhood obesity among adolescents and its disparate effects in the African-American population. I’m passionate about social justice and global health specifically focusing on areas of health disparity and where ‘people power’ and social movements can make a difference.
Why “When not in Africa. . .”
Since my first trip to Uganda during the summer after my freshman year of High School (age 14), I have been interested in learning more about Uganda, the African continent, and all issues in between, particularly international development and health systems. I had originally started blogging (Aug. 24th, 2006) with the idea that I wanted to spend most of my life living and working in Africa. The blog was just my way of talking about my life until I was in Africa.
As I traveled to Ghana, South Africa, Lesotho, and Mozambique. I was “in Africa” and it was exciting, but the title became a contradiction and I became less sure of my future.
The title has come to mean something very different to me now. I have studied Africa, international development, and social justice for the past 11 years and am much less naive than I was when I first visited Uganda and later finished college. I no longer see it as my place to “be” in Africa to make change. I can’t reconcile my place of privilege and purpose with the reality that so many have imposed themselves in different ways across Africa without stepping back and looking critically at the impacts they are having.