What college/university are you attending and what made you choose it?

Yale University; I wanted to be somewhere I could focus on black studies and in community with folks who are thinking about their academic and political work at the same time.

Which program are you pursuing and what about the subject intrigues you most?

J.D./Ph.D. in History and African American Studies. The law routinely operates as a tool for violence, exclusion, the maldistribution of material resources, and the maintenance of an unjust status quo. I’m interested in using the law to reduce harm and to support movements that are building the political- and people-power necessary for radical social change.

What are your career aspirations?

To try and practice Audre Lorde’s words—”I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do.”

What is a fun fact about you that few people know?

When I was eight, I was on the cover of the kid’s menu at several of the Iowa locations of Carlos O’Kelley’s.

What is your favorite book/movie/song and why?

Favorite song from the last few years: Cellophane by FKA twigs. Listening to it just feels like a reset; it’s heartbreaking and sparse and strong.

What is your current favorite streaming binge?

Search Party

In your spare time, what do you enjoy doing?

Long phone calls with friends, writing, playing and listening to music, movies, reading, spending time in parks, and most things active and outdoors (hiking, flag football, tennis, etc.).

How are you practicing self-care during this difficult time?

Long walks, sheet-pan dinners, and leaning hard on my community and my friends.

How are you adjusting to remote life and what are your tips to stay motivated?

Practicing a lot of self-forgiveness and self-compassion. Things are off, different, awry, and we shouldn’t be treating ourselves as if things are normal, standard, or fine. That said, I’m staying motivated by knowing that the work I’m trying to do with in the world happens as all scales and scopes, and that there will be somedays where trying to be good and kind to myself and good and kind to others is more than enough.

As a Point Scholar, what is your message to other LGBTQ+ students?

Find and build community however you can, know that having good people in your life makes all difference, and know that if you haven’t found those people yet and that they’re out there also looking for you. And that any message I have for anyone else is also, always, something I’m trying to remind myself of too.

This post’s responses were submitted by Point Scholar Josh Aiken.

He is currently pursuing a J.D./Ph.D. at Yale University majoring in African-American Studies and History/Law. Read more about Josh here.

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