By Joseph G. Homsey – At some point in time, at one point or another, everyone asks themselves this basic question: Who am I? This is a question that can be answered easily by some, and over time for others. If you’re like me, you will ask yourself this question regularly and it will change over time. For me, one thing has always remained the same: I am an advocate.
My advocacy began in high school as I journeyed toward the rank of Eagle Scout. Scouting teaches all of the things you’d assume, such as emergency preparedness and the outdoor code. It also teaches about community involvement, environmental science, and service to others, among many other things. These would be the three passions that I would learn about and advocate for ever since. From these lessons I had decided to dedicate my time to leave the world a little better than when I arrived.
In my relatively short life, at the ripe age of 26, I have been an advocate for people with disabilities, my community, and the environment. Through personal connections I became interested in working with people with mental and physical disabilities who were facing hardship. This led to my interest in Psychology and to attaining my BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College. As a case manager at a local non-profit during my junior and senior years at John Jay (2012-2013), I was able to get special services for individuals with disabilities, and I was someone who could stand up for them when dealing with bureaucratic social service agencies and health departments.
I was also an Auxiliary Police Officer from 2012-2015. Through that work, I was able to help my community by engaging in community relations building with the NYPD through routine patrols. I also helped the local community board to fight development and gain crucial services for the neighborhood.
Once I graduated from John Jay College, I became an advocate for the environment by working for NYC Parks, where I still work today. This was a passion that I developed back in the scouts. As an outdoor enthusiast I try to educate my fellow New Yorkers on the impact we have on our natural resources, while trying to ensure that they are being protected so future generations can reap the benefits that you and I receive.
Now, as an MPA graduate student back at John Jay College, I am continuing my education to put me in a better position to fight for my passions and what I believe. My advocacy continues to grow, and now I find myself developing a new passion to fight for bail reform and mandatory minimums.
All of us here at John Jay College fight for our passions and to make a difference in the world. I believe that we make a difference every day when we go to class and our respective jobs because we show up. Decisions are made by those in the room.
So, who am I? Who are we? We are the people who show up. We are the voice for the issues being ignored. We are the megaphone for those who are not being heard. We are advocates for justice.
Joseph G. Homsey is an MPA student at John Jay.