Have you ever been blown away by an experience that leaves an undeniable impact on you? That was my experience participating in the United Nations 56th Commission on Social Development (CSocD56)! My name is Tyrie Daniel, and I am a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a future student of the Loop Lab. I was raised in the Port neighborhood of Cambridge, which was a diverse, working-class community. Cambridge is known internationally for Harvard University and MIT. But things are now rapidly changing in my community. The city is engaged in a major infrastructural project in the Port neighborhood. And my community has been feeling the economic pressure from the surrounding development, and this is making things less affordable and less diverse. Because of this I am seeing more and more youth from my neighborhood suffering from neglect.
I believe that a program like the Loop Lab could help improve the lives of young adults in my community during this time of economic pressure. By redirecting our focus away from the streets and into the arts and helping us to outline an actual career path. Most of my friends are all interested in music and the recording studio. Also, most of the young adults 18-26 yrs old in my community do not have a lot of opportunities to broaden their worldview, and that is what the Loop Lab is helping to bring to the Port neighborhood. Our recent trip to the United Nations headquarters to participate in CSocD56 is a great example of this!
I never thought that a kid from the Washington Elms projects would be at the United Nations headquarters (UNHQ). Upon entering the United Nations headquarters I felt proud and important. Like I belonged there. What if every young adult from an underrepresented background could experience this? Immediately, I was blown away by the delegates, NGO employees, and UN staff that I met. I was also amazed at how interested these important people were in me and the Loop Lab program! I met the permanent ambassadors from countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Dominican Republic, Norway, Zambia, and St. Lucia among others, who heard our presentation and told us that they would like this program for the young adults in their countries. Coming from a low-income neighborhood, the Loop Lab showed me that not only could I be there at the United Nations headquarters among top global policymakers, but that the United Nations actually wants me there as well! We got a private tour of the UN headquarters and the Broadcasting studio, the staff was eager to share their stories and seemed genuinely interested in helping the Loop Lab and my personal development. The experience made me feel important and inspired.
Being invited into the UN News studios was an amazing experience. What made it special was seeing all of the state-of-the-art equipment which included audio software and recording. One of the UN News Managers was so impressed with our team that he invited us to their recording and broadcasting studio suites! It was a moving experience where the UN employee began to share his story as a former at-risk youth and even taught me some of their impressive hardware and software audio equipment. The staff was extremely generous and supportive to me and the entire Loop Lab launch team.
Finally, another moment that was deeply moving was a chance meeting with a UN security guard. He really was taken with our mission and with our exhibition and insisted on giving us a guided tour of the entire HQ. It felt like I was a rockstar! I even got the chance to go into the General Assembly room, which is the main policymaking room of the UN. The experience made me feel really important and inspired.
I left the event excited about my future. I feel like I was there as a representative for all underrepresented young adults who are pushing for more fair opportunities in the marketplace. I don’t want a job to be just given to me without merit - I want to prove myself. I just want a fighting chance in the digital marketplace the same as everybody else. It is important that other youth experience what I have and that the Loop Lab receives as much support in resources as much as possible. I believe that the program will help to use art to change the lives of my peers because many of them feel that their opportunities are slim. Thank you for reading my story this far.
Tyrie Daniel, future student of The Loop Lab