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Friday, July 24, 2015

It's Not the End but Rather the Beginning

Today marks the end of the academy classes which includes the Social Justice class. I had breakfast with the cohort at the 1920 Commons for the last time. We talked about the emotions that were going through our heads today and how sad we were to leave. Like most of this week, I came into class not knowing what was going to happen. It turns out Professor Lamas wanted us to share a couple words about this program. There were some people in the room who started to cry as they were sharing their experiences and also when they weren't. Not everyone in the room spoke and originally, I wasn't planning on speaking, however, I was jokingly peer pressured by my friends to speak and so I did. I told the audience that unlike most of them, I was able to ask my classmates who attended this class last year about their experience and what they did in the class. I appreciated the teaching fellows and Professor Lamas for their hard work and dedication. When everyone was done, Chiamaka asked everyone if they could take a group picture with her and some did. 

At lunch, some of the students from Social Justice are protesting against racism in America and read poems out loud. I think that the students wrote the poems themselves. The poems were very strong and heartfelt and talked a lot about some of the unpopular topics like immigration, mass incarceration, racism, and the education system. On one of the posters, it said "America was built by immigrants" and I had to think about this for a second. We often forget that we are a country that oppressed the weak for our own gain and that we actually did not belong here but then made this place our home. I thought that that was very strong statement made by one of the students. Most of the audience members were from Social Justice but there were some of those who passed by and stopped to listen to the students speak. 

Professor Lamas said that he saved the best session for last in the morning; it turns out he was right. We had some guest musicians come in today to perform music for us. The first performer performed something in his native language and instrument. Sadly, I was not able to find out what the instrument  was called. It was kind of like a Tamborine but much bigger. The next performers were from New York and they are called the Mahina Movement. Mahina Movement performed at least five songs and each song talked about something different. They sang about controversial topics such as racism, gender equality, and their background. I sat in the back so it was kind of hard to see them perform but music was loud enough for me to hear. After they were done performing, we did this class activity where one of the members (there are three members), Moana, would say one word and we had to think about things concerning the word. Students had to go up and say the words they thought of for a certain category. When this was done, as a class, our last assignment was to create a song with words we thought of that associated with social justice. Students created the beat for the song and sang it and the rest of the class had to repeat after them. We concluded the class after this activity and everyone was sad to leave. This was the time to take pictures with friends and the staff. 
All my Penn gear
Group picture with friends from Social Justice
Floor manager, Abdelis
Jun, Chimaka, Elexis, Arianna (a friend we met within the three weeks), and I went to the movie theaters to see the movie Ant-Man. We have all been wanting to see the movie for a while now and we had the time to do it today before meeting Mr. Hillyer to buy our hoodies. The movie was really fun and I think we all enjoyed it a lot. We walked over to the Penn Bookstore after the movie to meet up with Mr. Hillyer and parted ways with Arianna. At the Penn Bookstore, we met up with Rudy and Justeen and it took us about 30 to 40 minutes to pick a sweatshirt or hoodie we liked. We went to a restaurant called White Dog Cafe for dinner. The food was good and I liked the setting of the restaurant. I felt like I was underdressed to go to these kinds of restaurants. After finishing dinner, we parted ways with Mr. Hillyer and walked back to the Quad. 

My RC, Sarah
These last three weeks has really changed my perspective on life. I think the most important thing I took away from these three weeks is that we should never stop fighting for what we believe in. In the morning, Elexis said that she believes that everyone can go somewhere great in the future and hope to see them on TV for what they have done. The persistence within the students can take them to somewhere great. Not a lot of people's fire can stay lit for so long and I believe that the passions these students carry, just as Elexis said, will take them to somewhere great. It all starts with learning about the problems with society. Although the course has ended, it is not the end, but rather the beginning of something great. 

1 comment:

  1. Dang, Joanne. You got some pretty good swag there. There will be no doubt when you get home where you've spent the last three weeks.

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