Phillip Reid is an English major at Haverford College with a concentration in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights. He is part of a Haverford service organization, Street Outreach, that meets every Wednesday to deliver food to homeless people in Philadelphia’s Logan Circle. This fall, Phillip will be the co-head of Street Outreach.
After he graduates in 2019, he is considering graduate school to further his studies in English or studying Oral History.
In the short term, Phillip said, “I aim to refine my writing and communications capabilities and to develop a high level of social consciousness concerning the history and contemporary persistence of social oppression both domestically and globally.”
Eventually, he would like to work in the nonprofit sphere in a position that allows him to engage his passion for storytelling while raising awareness of injustice. Phillip wants to be a catalyst for social transformation.
Phillip is someone “who wants to use powerful words to do good things, and to make his mother proud.”
Staff Question: Explain why you believe that immigration is an important issue in our communities that needs to be confronted by our elected officials.
“What riles me most about the issue of immigration in the U.S. is that stereotypical generalizations so often rob individual immigrants of their agency and refute their vital contributions to society.
Each generation of immigrants faces the same stereotypes: that they are lazy, dangerous, leeching off the country’s prosperity.
“While the Donald Trump presidency has certainly brought anti-immigrant sentiment once again to the fore of domestic politics, the reality is that this sort of xenophobic animosity has always existed in the American soul. So pervasive has this animosity been throughout our country’s history that the meaning of word “immigrant,” in a U.S. context, has become dramatically distorted … [and] has taken on a pejorative connotation. In this all-too-often deployed pejorative sense, the term is not used to detail merely one aspect of individual identity, but rather to establish an idea, a fictional preconception of the immigrant “other” that obscures the identities of the intensely diverse assortment of individuals to whom it is applied.
“The daily fears faced by U.S. immigrants, coupled with the patterns of prejudice that influence the dominant majority’s perception of them, are what make immigration a U.S. domestic issue of primary importance. Compassion is indeed one of the most powerful and intuitive ways in which we can address the complex network of immigrant-directed prejudices that undergirds the U.S. social imaginary. When we make space for the sharing of individual immigration narratives and for revealing the truths of an individual immigrant’s daily life, their own trials and triumphs, we are able to combat that homogenizing, pejorative use of the word immigrant …”