It is a strange thing to say that the weekend starts tomorrow because I have not considered my time spent in my program to be school. I am learning a great deal and have reading assignments, but in contrast to my normal school experience I feel thoroughly engaged and interested in the topics we are studying every day. Although this is unfortunate, as I wish I could feel the same way about high school, this class I am taking now has been incredibly inspiring and it gives me a real sense of empowerment.
In class today we spent the morning setting up our individual pages for a new Social Justice Academy website we are creating. This was a fun activity because Prof. Lamas gave us a ton of freedom with our pages so we all had the chance to think outside the box and focus on a variety of topics that we have discussed in class. One aspect of Prof. Lamas' teaching style that I am extremely fond of is that he likes to save some time to allow for a few spontaneous activities. Before we began on our web pages, we met in a conference room on the second floor of the Vanderbilt library to speak with one of the staff in that facility. Besides teaching us how to work the website, she also showed us a few short controversial videos thanks to Prof. Lamas' interest and suggestion. We saw two pieces that focused on the underlying racism displayed in Walt Disney films and one that even questioned some of the university's traits. Each film was put together by students who attend this university and I think it is great they were able to convey deep messages that are commonly overlooked.
Once we were done with that, we took our lunch break and then gathered back together in our usual classroom to present our creations. Although not everyone was able to share their page, including me, we crossed a number of interesting opposing topics from freedom and oppression to building community and scapegoating. These last three hours of class were mainly run by us students while Prof. Lamas and Michael guided the intellectual process. I thought that this was a great way to spend our time as it gave us the opportunity to talk amongst our classmates and collaboratively develop our own trains of thought. We will be continuing that activity on Monday so I will have the chance to stand up and share my ideas. I love this class!
After class I immediately felt a strong desire to find my own roots, as genealogy was another topic we discussed. I agree with the quote, "You have to know where you came from to know where you're going." I think that it is really important, not to mention interesting, to find the people that are responsible for putting me in the life I am in now. From the discussion we had about this, I became extremely inspired to begin my own historical search to find where I my roots are. I plan on working on this throughout the rest of this summer and on into next year as well, and I am so thankful to be taking a class that has already opened my mind to new possibilities and adventures like this.