Getting to Know Our Fellows: Sky Allen

Warehouse Workers Resource Center

Fellow: Sky Allen

Sky Allen is a Policy Fellow at the Warehouse Worker Resource Center. Raised in Upland, California, Sky is a recent graduate in Business Administration with a concentration in Management and a minor in Ethnic Studies at University of California, Riverside. Sky’s interests include the performing arts, fiction novels, and spending time with family and friends.

What are you looking forward to working on as a UCR CSI IE Nonprofit Fellow?

From regularly driving past semi-trucks on the freeway to knowing someone who works in a warehouse, nearly everyone in the Inland Empire is exposed to the logistics industry in some way. I am excited to work as a fellow with the Warehouse Worker Resource Center because doing so allows me to better understand my own community and gives me the opportunity to work to better it. In the past three weeks alone I have been challenged in new ways and learned so much about warehouse work and the local economy. I look forward to conducting research surrounding urban planning and fair labor standards as well as facilitating community discussions that help cast light on how the upcoming midterm election affects workers and community members.

 

What drew you to the UCR CSI IE Nonprofit Fellowship?

Post-graduation I want to focus my time and energy on local government and organizing in my immediate community, so I was very much intrigued by the idea of being placed in a nonprofit organization. During my undergrad I was a business major, so while my studies gave me a better picture of the institutional/for-profit side of organizations, I really wanted to gain hands on experience of the not-for-profit and understand on a personal level why that is significant in its own right. Additionally, I believe culturally the United States values independence and “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” to a fault at times; no one accomplishes greatness independently and we are all products of our environment. To me, nonprofits helps to ensure that environment is productive and inclusive, and that is exactly the kind of community I want to have a hand in cultivating. The CSI IE Nonprofit Fellowship gave me the opportunity to do exactly that while also compensating me for that labor.

 

What are you looking forward to learning about the nonprofit sector in the IE? What do you think are the most pressing needs in the region for nonprofit organizations?

I am looking forward to learning more about how nonprofit sectors function in the Inland Empire as an entity in its own right. When I have studied or learned about nonprofits and organizing and the like I often hear about Los Angeles County when it comes to southern California, but to unite the Inland Empire and provide the region its own agency is refreshing and empowering as well. I look forward to learning how nonprofits mingle with each other and how coalitions and alliances are formed and sustained. In regards of the most pressing needs, I think it can be difficult limiting the needs to two or three because the region is so large, but I do believe issues regarding education, healthcare, employment, criminal justice, and the environment are always important. I believe it is always important that communities fight to ensure human rights are available to everyone, including women, people of color, the LGBT community, disabled people, and immigrants. I think there are particular battles people in SoCal have to fight and nonprofit organizations, regardless of their individual priorities, have to be aware of those fights and in some way work to conquer those as well.

What is a little-known gem about the IE that you could share with others? What would you share with those not familiar or know little about the region?

For people who are not familiar with the region I typically share that the Inland Empire neighbors Los Angeles and Orange County. San Bernardino itself is not only the largest county in California but the largest by total area in the country, so coupling it with Riverside produces a very large and dynamic region.

Where do you envision yourself in 5 years? What are your future career plans after this fellowship?

My career plans are still tentative, I am allowing myself to learn as I go and keep an open mind, however, within the next five years, I do see myself having gone back to school to complete a Masters in Public Administration. I know I want to work in public service and I want to stay working in southern California because this is where I grew up and this is where I know best. Beyond that the future is beautifully unknown: I may stay in the nonprofit sector, I may work on a political campaign, I may even run for office myself one day!

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