Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian Receives The Liebster Award

Dr. Nancy J Smith, Professor and Dean at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work has included Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian in a list of blogs to receive The Liebster Award, an award whose purpose is intended to discover and recognize new blogs.

As I’m approaching my 3rd year of blogging at the time of this post, I definitely still consider myself to be a newcomer with much to learn. Many thanks to you Nancy because your nomination reminds me to continue on because we never know who may be watching.

You can visit Dr. Smith’s full list of nominated blogs and learn more about her own writing and work by visiting her blog, Virtual Connections–Exploring Social Work in the Digital Age and How We’re Transformed by the Digital World.

There’s an element of paying it forward that comes with receiving the Liebster Award, and those conditions are as follows:

  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
  • Answer the 10 questions from the nominator
  • Nominate 10 blogs and create 10 questions for your nominees.

Ten Questions for me

1. What are you hoping to achieve with your blog?

Emancipation for myself and others. I’ll be writing more about this in my yearly address, so check back for that on April 1st. For more answers to this question, check out:

Who Are You Writing For? Inside N.A.H. Part 4

Social Workers for Social Justice: Interview with Relando Thompkins

Why Focus on So Many Issues? Inside N.A.H. Part 5

Equity Through Non-Violent Communication and Social Action: An OU Interview with Relando Part 7

2. Where do you get your ideas for blogging?

I often hear that life is the greatest teacher, and much of the inspiration behind my notes come from personal lived experiences in the form of new discoveries, “successes”, challenges, learning experiences with areas for my own personal growth or professional development. I also get inspiration from news stories and other forms of media that I’ll either pass along here, or share my perspective on them in a separate post.

3. What is the hardest part of blogging for you?

Sticking to a schedule. This is definitely something that I’m working to improve on in the new year.

4. Which of your blog posts is your favorite, and why?

I honestly can’t say that I can narrow it down to just one. I’ll think about this a bit more and publish a note about some of my favorites. UPDATE  April 2014: I created that post, at least to the extent that I list my favorites. You can find it here.

5. What is one thing that you think people would be surprised to know about you?

Probably that I’m an introvert. In my experience, some people who have learned that about me were surprised to know, especially in light of the fact that I often find myself being in positions where it is necessary for me to speak up, and speak out publicly, or interact with a wide variety of people on a consistent basis.

Once a co-worker described themselves as an introvert who has learned how to function in an extroverted world. Although it’s not an all-encompassing description for me, it definitely fits at times.

Being “out front” requires a tremendous amount of energy on my part, but more often than not, when I’m in those situations, they come connected to a greater purpose that I can focus on, which gives me the energy required to do more and go further than I might normally go in situations where that purpose is absent.

Introversion does not equate to shyness however. I’ll have to go into more detail about that soon.

6. What are your favorite ways to unwind.

Some of my favorite ways to unwind include reflecting in solitude, spending time with loved ones, working out, reading to learn, and writing.

7. What are some books you are reading for fun right now?

I just rediscovered this one this morning and I liked it a lot.


8. What are some of your favorite quotations?

“I would like it to be said that, ‘Here lies a man who has done his duty on earth’. That is all.” –Nelson Mandela

“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.” –Audre Lorde

“Disdain for “political correctness” is often positioned as a concern that some important truth is not being spoken for fear of offending someone.

But that concern is nothing but smoke and mirrors. To invoke “political correctness” is really to be concerned about loss of power and privilege. It is about disappointment that some “ism” that was ingrained in our society, so much that citizens of privilege could express the bias through word and deed without fear of reprisal, has been shaken loose.

Charging “political correctness” generally means this: “I am comfortable with my privilege. I don’t want to have to question it. I don’t want to have to think before I speak or act. I certainly don’t wish to inconvenience myself for the comfort of lesser people (whoever those people may be–women, people of color, people with disabilities, etc.)”–Tami Winfrey Harris

“I am not educated nor am I an expert in any particular field. But I am sincere, and my sincerity is my credentials. “ –Malcolm X

“There is nothing quite like the realization that simply who you are is motivation for someone else to succeed.” –Dionardo Pizaña

“There is nothing quite like the realization that simply who you are is motivation for someone else to succeed.” –Michael A. Wright

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

9. What was a significant milestone for you in 2013?

In August of 2013 I had an opportunity to work collaboratively with a team of change agents to facilitate an experience that could help over 300 students in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan be intentional about thinking about increasing their awareness of themselves and their lenses and worldviews in relation to others in terms of “what they bring” to the school environment, as well as how those lenses and worldviews can impact how they serve.

This opportunity highlighted the need for more work like this to be done, and I’ve been able to play an important role in creating more of those opportunities. This was a significant milestone for me because as a result of working with my team to fulfill the purpose of the event, my work has been expanded, enabling me to continue to work toward my mission and vision.

10. What question do you wish I had asked you, and why?

Can’t say that I have one.

Ten Blogs I am Nominating (in no particular order)

  1. Teaching Social Work
  2. Ramp Your Voice
  3. Social Work Helper
  4. What a Shrink Thinks
  5. Social Work Tech
  6. Keith Edwards
  7. Private Practice from the Inside Out
  8. The Other Class
  9. Can You Hear Me
  10. Classroom to Capitol

10 Questions for Nominees to Answer, Should They Accept

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
  • Is there a special story or meaning behind your blog’s title? If so, please share it.
  • How would you explain your basic life philosophy?
  • Who/what inspires you?
  • Which of your blog posts is your favorite and why?

6.Other than your own, what are some of your favorite blogs?

  1. Do you have any advice for anyone who would want to start a blog of their own?
  • Where do you get your inspiration for blogging?
  •  What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
  • Share the link to one of your blog posts that you think deserves more attention.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW, LLMSW


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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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3 Responses

  1. Patrice F. says:

    Congrats Relando! Well deserved!

  1. January 14, 2014

    […] Award seeks to discover and recognize new blogs.  Ramp Your Voice! was one of ten blogs Relando nominated in his article for this prestigious […]

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