Just thinking about how how much time we spent this summer productively, I can't help but to pat myself on the back and said, " You made it!" This program in particular has made me more observant about the intricate details of our society. There are so many things to take into account when just reading an article on New York Times or the Huffington Post. Articles are written by human beings, and everyone will be biased one way or another. It is up to the reader to define the article and determine if that's what we want to believe in.
|A cheesetake shop @ South Philly promoting modern-day racism|
The Social Justice Academy started off with a bang on the most controversial topics: LGBQT, contemporary slavery, usage of drones abroad, etc. For the first week we went into the logistics of LGBQT identified persons around the world who have been or are being discriminated because they do not follow the "norms" of society. What exactly is a norm? A societal norm, then it must be that people living in "society" would have to create those norms. If it is, then is it right to tell others how we "should" behave? The questions at hand are what you normally do not discuss in our local communities so openly. However, the lively and non-judging atmosphere this class has created made me feel like my voice mattered; and it did. I began to articulate my voice on some of the most sensitive cases around the world. There's bound to be people who opposes your thoughts and/or ideas and that's okay. Learning from criticism is a step to broaden one's horizon and also teaches us to not get controlled by perception.
We then led to various visits and explored across Philadelphia to know a little more about the nation's first capital. We visited the Magic Gardens where Isaiah Zagar created such an amazing house full of mirages of artistic perceptions. He made the murals to represent that there could be incorporation of different art styles into formed art to create new products, just like how there could be different kinds of people cohabiting happily and emitting a friendly environment. I enjoyed every single trip of the program and it has been a great pleasure to be able to get in touch with such incredible people doing amazing things.
|Even the largest corporations contain injustice and shows it|
On the third week, that's when things got really interesting for me. We started to get into different regions around the world and what their issues are. The Umbrella Movement of Hong Kong was what caught my attention. This is undeniably a big movement in East Asia and most definitely looked at when studying the relations between Mainland and Hong Kong. The feud between the two territories of China has always been there, and now it's on the rise as more and more miscommunications and misunderstandings generate. The political systems of both territories are flawed and should be the one at fault. But wait, should it be or should it not? The records show that what the citizens of Hong Kong want is for Mainland citizens to stop buying all the products in HK and leave some for locals. Going a little back after the SARS, HK promoted their products especially to Mainland folks for them to purchase. What's the deal there? Because of the booming economy in HK, they don't need the sales anymore? It's such a complicated issue and at hand there is no definite solution. I did not agree to some terms in which the student speaker presented during that time, but I understand that coming from an Mainland point-of-view, I would be somewhat leaned towards their side whereas the speaker is from HK.
After taking this course, I felt better informed about many topics going on around the world but it is definitely not to say that I am informed about every topic, because everyday, you're learning new things and changing your views.
|From left to right: Chiamaka, me, Elexis, and Joanne|