The In and Outs of Institutional Systems

Learning the perspective of Representative Hurtado was important to recognizing the pros and cons of the modes of social change relative to institutional systems. He brought the perspective of working at the intersection of both inside and outside of the institutional systems — through a non-profit and as a government representative. Navigating these landscapes of social change has allowed me to deduce that working outside of institutional systems would serve me the best in my pursuits.

While working within the system, particularly by hold a government office position, permits direct change by lawmaking, it appears that there would be many constraints to enacting change. Specifically, the campaigning process requires an extreme amount of resources such as donors/funding, appealing to different social groups, developing a platform. Making promises to make specific changes does not guarantee that it will occur, as it requires the approval and ratification of others. Some of these promised changes may be too big and would exceed the short term limits.

Personally, if I wanted to focus solely on racial justice, it would be impossible to do so within the constraints of the institutional systems because my position requires me to address other social issues to appease my voter base. Therefore, I am drawn towards working outside of the system because I can do what I want with more freedom. No, I may not have a steady income while working through a non-profit. But at least I can invest my time and energy into the social issue of my choosing, racial justice, rather than placing attention on a variety of issues to appease the public.

My sense of purpose will never be set in stone, as I continue to shape it throughout my life. But for now, I see myself working outside of the system to achieve racial justice and mitigate the detrimental impacts of racism and systemic discrimination within our society. This is how I see myself helping society improve.