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  1. Recent topics discssued in my anthropology class have centered around the theme of disapora which, as I have come to understand the term, refers to a sense of displacement, the absence of a home. In class we have explored extensively the isolation certain groups commonly labeled different, often foreign, who appear unwelcomed by elements of American culture (to the limited extent that American culture can be defined). Such conversations have really made me think about the work we do at the Suitcase Clinic, and efforts volunteers make to not only provide clients with important resources, but also to create a supportive community in which all people can feel a sense of belonging.Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in the extensive services we offer clients- from with medical resources to connections with employment programs- that I forget the most important service we can provide is an eager listener. While it is easy to state out loud that no two people have the same story, one might naturally construct assumptions about a client’s past and current situation. However, just as we have discssued in anthropology, no aspect of the human experience is universal- including the experience of homelessness. Furthermore, grand assumptions which persist in the U.S. about homelessness and related topics (such as mental illness, unemployment, etc.) create invisible but powerful social boundaries much of the population remains hesitant to approach. The common misconception that all employed people are lazy or the mentally ill are all dangerous prevent, for example, many from investigating on their own solutions to homelessness and ways to provide aid for a struggling population.What are we supposed to do with the awareness we have gained from class and our experience at clinic? So many problems surrounding issues of homelessness simply seem too big for students to tackle especially with such limited resources.Again, communication is most powerful- in and outside of clinic. Especially in Berkeley, the topic of homelessness is bound to come up in many conversations in a plethora of venues. Questioning assumptions friends and peers might hold about the homeless and encouraging them to look at situations from a different point remain of vital importance. I have heard many expressions of frustrations late that the homeless have taken over Sproul and simply don’t belong there. Regardless of one’s opinion on the Occupy Movement, it would seem valid to ask these frustrated passers-by where they themselves might chose to pitch a tent if that tent were their only home. To eliminate diaspora, it seems, is a completely relevant goal of the Suitcase Clinic.Upon volunteering at General Clinic, I got to see one of our clients approach our big group of volunteers and just thanks everybody for the support we had provided- just a thank you for talking. His gratitude was simply moving and refreshed my hope in our cause.

  2. Thank you for bringing up the inamrtpoce of branding and illustrating some fine examples. So many nonprofits we work with are trying to be too many things to too many people and this is getting in the way of a clear branding message. It’s all about top of mind awareness and branding is a huge part of that!

  3. Just wanted to thank evoyerne involved, specially my 1st AD and best friend Michael Cabral. Couldn’t of done it without you brother. You da man, always have been and always will be.

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