Desire Bagot, BMC ’24

Philadelphia Fight and Social Justice

Semester: Spring 2024

Praxis Course: SOCL 420 Social Justice and Social Change

Faculty Advisor: David Karen

Field Site: Philadelphia FIGHT

Field Supervisor: Catrina Peeples

Praxis Poster: 

Desiree Bagot_Poster_Final_S24_redsize3


Further Context:

Through the Praxis Course, Social Justice and Social Change, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Philadelphia FIGHT. FIGHT is a non-profit, comprehensive health services organization providing primary care, consumer education, research, and advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk. I worked within the Human Resources department where I assisted the Chief HR Officer and HR staff with a variety of tasks such as filing paperwork for new employees, participating in interviews, scheduling and managing interviews, ensuring correct information of staff on the organization’s website, and updating job descriptions and job description templates. The Praxis course has allowed me to apply principles of power, social justice, and social change to the work I’ve done at FIGHT.

While working at FIGHT, I did not initially see how working within the HR department and ideas about social justice could coincide. I often wondered if the work I was doing was enough, and if this work even pertained to social justice. I’ve come to realize that all aspects of work within a non-profit organization are integral in the functioning of an organization and in sustaining it as well. But even more so, I realized that HR and social justice intersect more than I realized. At FIGHT, I had the opportunity to assist in the planning of Employee Appreciation Week (EAW). While planning for this event, we discussed the importance of raising staff morale and especially the importance of staff appreciation. In non-profit organizations where employee burnout is typically a concern, it is important to foster community and support where community care can flourish. In another instance, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about equitable hiring processes that the HR department adheres to. My supervisor has discussed how important it is to provide every individual with equal opportunity in the hiring process, regardless if there has been a recommendation of a particular individual by an employee within the organization. Furthermore, it is also important to increase ethnic and racial diversity in non-profit leadership positions and ensure their voices are heard and valued.

Within a classroom setting, I’ve had the opportunity to read different principles, theories, and other articles that discuss dismantling institutional power and the role that non-profit organizations play in challenging institutional power. Something that I have been thinking about is how and if non-profit organizations can simultaneously challenge micro and macro levels of institutional power that perpetuate inequality. How do we work towards transforming institutions of power while making conditions livable under capitalism in our own communities? Would this increase the workload among employees, and therefore put already existing pressure on non-profit employees? As I work towards my future endeavors in the non-profit world, these questions will sit with me.

Volunteering at FIGHT has allowed me to further build the relationships I made when I worked there as an intern the previous summer. This experience has also allowed me to understand the intersections between human resources and social justice. I have been able to reflect on the social justice work that non-profit organizations do, and how social justice values can be maintained within an organization.