Summer on Flint’s Frontlines with Gina Kim
This blog submission begins an exclusive weekly series of entries and personal reflections about Flint from the perspectives of Georgetown University student Gina Kim, of New Jersey and Grand Blanc, Michigan, native Lindsay Baywol, a Michigan State University student, The women are participants in the 2017 Diplomat Fellowship for Social Change, sponsored by Diplomat.
With an eye toward changing the narrative of Flint, TheHUB joins Diplomat’s Community Relations & Government Affairs in sharing the views of these young professionals who were recruited to lend fresh talent and energy to the city and its residents. We hope you give us your feedback on their observations, just as we hope you’ll join their mission of letting others know what great things Flint has to offer.
Flint is a resilient city
By Gina Kim
During my freshman year at Georgetown University my mother told me my junior year internship would be crucial to my future. When I told her it would be in Flint, Michigan, she was nervous. My mom asked if the water was safe to drink, if it was safe to walk around, if I was sure about becoming a Diplomat Fellow. All I could tell her was, “Yes.” In my heart, I had already said “yes” to Flint.
Flint is a place of grit. It is a place of change. It is a place of impact.
When I told someone from Michigan I would be in Flint he apologized. “Don’t worry, Flint isn’t all that Michigan has to offer,” he said. But my initial feelings about the city — that it was a place where people cared and fought for what was right — have proven true. Flint is a place of grit. It is a place of change. It is a place of impact.
A common sentiment I have heard is Flint needs a new PR campaign. I agree. I believe, as soon as one walks into downtown and meets the people, they will fall in love. And I am not alone. I’ve met people here who have lived in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, China, and more who have fallen in love with Flint. These people continue to choose the city, just as I did, because it’s where you come to make change happen.
And Flint changes you, too.
A few weeks ago my mother called me, excitedly. She told me all the information she had learned about the Diplomat Fellowship and Skypoint Ventures, my community partner. She expressed the same level of excitement she had once used when questioning my acceptance of the fellowship. With some time and a little encouragement, my mother learned what I had always known – the Diplomat Fellowship and Flint were not things to apologize for, but opportunities of which to be proud. I am so happy I chose Diplomat and Flint this summer. More importantly, I am ecstatic that Flint and Diplomat said yes to me.
See related articles published in TheHUB regarding talent recruitment and retention efforts and investment initiatives: