ATLANTA – Student Kenyah Farley has solid advice for any passionate person looking to get started in activism. She herself walks the path for justice and justice as she works toward her Bachelor of Social Work at Georgia State University and prepares for an internship with Atlanta Legal Aid.
In the months leading up to her internship, Farley was involved in the Atlanta activism scene and participated in protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Her involvement caught the attention of the Atlanta Journal’s constitution, which featured her in a recent story.
In a protest, Farley and others called on Governor Brian Kemp to repeal House Bill 838, which punishes those who “intimidate, threaten or harass a person because of their actual or perceived employment as a first responder”.
It wasn’t long before Farley organized her own demonstration. What advice does she give future social justice lawyers and activists?
“Find something you are passionate about, find a mentor with experience, address the issues you want to focus on, and then get involved! Volunteering is a great way to show your passion, ”she said.
Farley began her journey before devoting herself to social work. She also found a mentor early in her career, a high school teacher, who encouraged her to pursue a career in a helping profession.
Farley initially chose a small, quiet university setting for her undergraduate experience. But after growing up on Metro Atlanta, she missed the hustle and bustle of the city. So she decided to change her major to social work and moved to Georgia State University.
“I found out that I would be in smaller classes specific to my major and decided to move,” she said.
As a volunteer in the care system, Farley originally wanted to work with teenagers and young adults as they age out of the foster family. But her experiences at Andrew Young School, particularly as president of the school’s social work club, have taken her in new directions.
“I learned about the shifts in social work,” she said. “I’ve interacted with social workers involved in policy changes, in the medical field, or with veterans. There are so many different paths that I can go. “
This realization, coupled with Farley’s own identity as a young black woman and the fire that was kindled in her by participating in demonstrations this summer, has underscored the importance of political work for her future career.
“I used to hate politics and said I would never get involved in politics,” she said. “But I understood that in order to break down systems and build something new, in order to be productive as a social worker, I have to go into the systems and help change them.”
Story by: Sumar Deen, Student (MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling, ’21)