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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Field Trips and Surprise Birthday Dinner

Today was so exhausting in a good way. I overslept but my cohort was nice enough to wait for me before we went out for breakfast. I had a relatively small breakfast, and because we didn't have breakfast at the commons, I did not get to refill my water bottle. Nonetheless, I went through the day knowing that today was going to be really exciting. 

After our routine Qi Gong movements on the lawn, my teaching fellow group and two other groups got together in order to start our field trip to he Village of Arts and Humanities in Northern Philadelphia. 

During the tour, our tour guide showed us different parts of the park. We started in a very beautiful part of the park that had an amazing mural in front. The mural was started in 2003 by a woman named Lily Yeh, unfortunately she retired, over 12 years ago and sort of left the organization to survive on its own. The village has done very well for itself and went from a small staff of four up to sixteen. They have different programs for the children in the neighborhood such as drumming lessons or fashion design classes. I think that programs like this is really what keeps the next generation off the streets, spending their times in productive ways. 
Please notice the juxtaposition of these buildings.

I think that the fact that this part of Philadelphia is grossly under funded, proves the failure in our system. How can one part of the city be pretty with nice lawns and the other end left to fall apart. Another example of gross injustice would be how one of the staff members, Muhammad, was sent to jail for over a year while he was innocent. I felt like crying almost because of how a justice system could be so horrible that it fails someone like him, who helps our youth for no profit at all. This fact weighed heavily on me during the tour of the village and it was just hard for me to be completely happy for the rest of the day knowing that he had to lose a year and a half of his life for no good reason. 

After our field trip, Joanne, Jun, Elexis and I ran around trying to perfect our plans for Hillyer's birthday dinner. We successfully bought the birthday cake and delivered it to the restaurant and we were very excited to see Hillyer's face if everything went smoothly. We all decided to dress somewhat fancy for the dinner just to give John a clue that this would not be a regular dinner. 

With everything in order, we headed back to class for a lecture. During class, we talked about Locke's idea of capitalism and we asked at what point in Locke's theory did it break down. I realized that capitalism is a complete failure without some form of institutionalized slavery. It all comes down to the debate of private property. Does anything really belong to any one person? According to Locke, if you put in any form of your labor into something, then it is yours. This also applies to anything you own. For example, if my horse trims down grass by eating it, since I own the horse, and the horse has acted upon the field the grass is on, then I own the field. This applies to slaves as well. The best way to describe the shift from slavery to paid servitude would be the "abolishment" of slavery and introduction to sharecropping. Locke's theory on private property and preventing a society that steals plays a big role in our society today which means, slavery and racism still plays a huge role in our society today. 

On a side note I may or may not have started a heated debate with one of our professors on whether Barack Obama is a sell-out or not. I didn't get to finish my conversation with him but I will provide more information on that. Just to be clear, I do not believe that Obama is a sell out, I think he is doing the best he can do with the resources he's provided, and we also have to keep in mind that he has to deal with a completely Republican run Congress.

Right after our small group discussion on racism, I rushed back to the dorms to change for John's birthday dinner. Once we signed the birthday card and got everything in order, we headed out. The Barbecue place was so good that I saved some of my food for tomorrow. We connected with our waitress and told her our secret phrase that signaled for the cake. Once our waitress entered with the cake and we started singing, John started blushing and laughing which made me laugh. I looked over at the cake and realized that it had completely melted and fallen apart. John didn't seem to mind so the rest of our cohort including myself tried to hold our composure even though the cake was not relatively cheap. By the time we finished up our ice cream soup, we had completely forgotten about any hard feelings because at least John was happy. Happy Birthday John, I wish you many more.

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