Social Justice and Social Change Praxis Fieldwork Seminar
Faculty Advisor: David Karen
Field Site: Community Action Development Corporation (CADCOM)
Field Supervisor: Debbie Soto-Vega
Praxis Poster:Elizabeth Zhao_Final Poster
For my Praxis seminar, I volunteered at CADCOM’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program providing free tax prep to low-income Norristown residents. I also co-coordinated the Bryn Mawr side of the program. My typical day at CADCOM would look like driving myself and the volunteers in a school van to the site, preparing tax returns, answering volunteer questions, and helping clients drop off and pick up returns. At Bryn Mawr, I would collaborate with my student co-coordinators and supervisor to improve the program—planning pop-ups, team-building events, and receiving and incorporating feedback from volunteers.
As a sociology major, I spend a lot of time learning about the ways societal structures disproportionately disadvantage and harm people. My Praxis semester at CADCOM gave me the opportunity to do something about it and reflect meaningfully on my work.
I started this semester unsure of how doing taxes could count as social justice. What social change is coming out of opening TaxSlayerPro? When TurboTax spends millions lobbying against making tax prep accessible, is free tax prep “enough?” Maybe not, but it is necessary, and I can print 1040s and work towards making it unnecessary in the meantime.