Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Year Are We In?

For both the morning and afternoon class we went on a field trip! The first trip was to Chinatown, where the topic was Chinese immigration. We were told to walk at a slower pace than usual, and really take in everything we around us. It was a bit hard to read some of the signs, but there were a few people in our class who read Mandarin so they helped us out. Once in a while we would gather up in a corner for a small lecture and discussion. We talked about what we saw, and why we thought it was there. We were then led to a public high school. What was so special about this school was that it is the first of its kind. It is only available to Asian Americans, and it helps with the oppressing issues they face in today's society.

We went  back to campus for lunch, then at 2 met for the second trip of the day. This time we took the trolley to a museum. This museum is pretty tiny, and they usually have one display. The display they had available for us to see was about what happened in South Philadelphia High School on December 3, 2009. Throughout that whole 26 students were attacked and beaten by their peers, while nobody did anything to help. Out of those 26, 13 ended up in the hospital with serious injuries. Asians had been facing racism for a long time in that school, and on December 3 the hate due to their race had gone to all new extremes. Nobody helped them and they realized nobody ever would help them. They had to stand up for themselves, and they did. They organized an eight day boycott where they refused to go to the school where they did not feel safe. During the boycott, the students asked to meet with Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman about their safety concerns, but Dr. Ackerman refused, saying she would only meet with them on school grounds “where they belong.” It wasn't until December 15, 2010 that the Philadelphia school district addressed the anti-Asian violence issues. It took them one year and twelve days to admit that there was a problem, that it was a racist hate crime. As I was reading all of the different testimonies from some of the 26 students, I was speechless. All I could think about was, "What year are we in?". That happened three years ago, that is really recent! I thought we were past all of the racist stages, but no I guess not, and that is so sad. Our country's name is the 'UNITED' States of America, but we aren't united, we've never been and we may never be. Even now all I can think about is what a victim from that day said, "I thought 'Oh my god, maybe I'm gonna die today.'" I don't think I'll ever forget those words, and I hope I never go through a situation that will cause me to think that.

Our short debate session.

After visiting the museum, we walked over to a nearby park. At the park we divided into four groups. We were debating on whether the U.S. should remain as it is now with closed borders, or change to open borders. My group was open borders, and it wasn't hard at all to come up with a strong argument for that side. Sadly, we hardly got any time to actually debate on it with a closed border group, because we ran out of time.
The best Mac & Cheese ever!

Mr. Lawrence reading the card we gave him.

Today, as you all know is the 25th, which means it has been exactly one month since we embarked on our journey together. I really cannot believe it has been a month already, it feels as though we just left El Cerrito High School. To celebrate, Mr. Lawrence took the Penn team out for dinner. We went to White Dog Cafe which is just a block from campus. We spent the whole night laughing, talking about the wonderful moments we've spent together, and enjoying the amazing food. We also bought our chaperone a couple of things as a way of saying 'Thank you'. The night ended all too soon, and so will this trip!

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