by Angelica Rodriguez '05
Who am I today in 2021?
I am many dimensions and worlds apart from who I was when I graduated from Williams in 2005. I am not better or worse. I am not winning or losing. I am serving my purpose in this world. I am applying all I have learned as a student, and I have created my own approaches to addressing the spaces I am responsible for.
I am a story.
I am a poem.
I am a first-generation college student.
I am a Puerto Rican-American.
I am a woman.
I am a mother.
I am a clinical social worker.
I Am Because We Are.
Let me conclude…
“Williams College is to me what a pallet is to an artist. A space to create and co-create all that is not in existence.”
A place where I grappled with matters of identity, oppression, racism, space, immigration. All things human and all things systems. As an American and Latino Studies major my studies in 2001-2005 prepared me to navigate today’s crises and social problems.
I am honored to have studied at Williams and to have the great friends that I have today.
I took a leap across the educational gap and landed on the other side. The Williams community is an intricate part of my journey. More than a community, I gained a family.
There is truth to the saying, “you never forget how people make you feel.”
The best part of 2021 has been the ability to connect with one another organically and naturally.
April of 2021 Jose Marrero ’06 arrived at my house. It had been over 10 years since we saw each other. My family knew he was my best friend from college. The “male” version of me. This visit was so meaningful. Jose and I, talking. He always gives me the most meaningful things. He brought me a purple cow Williams mascot. I named it Cowly. He also gave me a friendship bracelet made by him for me. It was not the gift; it was the love and genuine care to which he brought me meaningful tokens to receive and keep. I felt deeply connected to our exchange, and, for a moment, I felt Williams in my heart loudly. I remembered the moments of shared kindness and the moments of overcoming all that came our way.
We woke up the next morning and took a drive to Williamstown. We connected with Natalia Romano ’05 and Christopher Sewell ’05. This was a treat. That night we called Christina Villegas ’04 and saw her on a video chat.
We had not seen each other in over a decade, but we picked up as if no time had passed. I toured the new spaces on campus and spent that beautiful Saturday outdoors, smelling the air, and simply being back to a space I once called home. Jose Marrero, thank you for reminding me of us. You were a light in my life.
Arts, Ethnography, Social Work, Historian, Poet, Speaker, Lover of all things.
What do I do? I do not know.
I am figuring it out. I am a relationship builder, community creator and space navigator. I believe in the power of the “We.” I believe in acting in the best interest of humanity.
I spend most of my time working as a child welfare social worker. I am a first responder for the state of Massachusetts. I have dedicated the last 16 years to the field of child welfare. I am always seeking to learn, process and impact improvement in practices. I am continuously assessing how to service families and children effectively and efficiently while advancing best-case practices during a time that requires us to rethink how we respond to the intended and unintended consequences of today.
I am a poet. I use poetry to express all that is. A social worker who practices the principles of Ubuntu philosophy. I, too, believe in designing collective communities where everyone can be themselves and feel safe.
I Am Because We Are
We encourage individuality, honor our intellectualism, and respect the contributions
of our collective essentialities!
We are a team that speaks, empowers and inspires one another to be great at the things that matter the most.
We are a team that incites and instills well-being beyond the workspace
Mind, Body, and Soul. A biopsychosocial perspective!
We are a team whose actions repeat, “I believe!” “I believe in you!” “I believe in me!”
“I believe in the power of the “we!”
We are a different kind of “fruitz,” An unfamiliar harvest…
We bear the ability to create our desired ENVIRONMENTS, making spaces anew!
We are the blueprints for leaders of the future to follow.
On this day, month, and year I say thank you for all you are, all you give and, most important, for trusting in the spirit of true relationship and community building.
It is said, “You are what you repeatedly do…”
We are a team that believes in “dreams come true.”
Thank you for all you do and for always being you!
I am Because We are