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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chinatown Here I Come!

Today's class started at 10 AM so it was nice to sleep in for an hour. I grabbed breakfast with Chiamaka, Jun, and Elexis and we went to class. At class, we had the option to choose between open-mic sessions led by students or a lecture led by guest speaker, Cassidy; I chose to go to the lecture Cassidy gave. She talked about how imperialism has shaped the world we live in. Cassidy spoke about how imperialism is still somewhat alive today and there are different methods people use, for instance, the U.S., specifically, always helps other countries that are in need for its own purpose which is exploitation. People were allowed to speak their thoughts if they had the microphone and some built their argument off of what others said. It was interesting to hear what others had to say however, the biggest issue I had with this lesson is that nobody offered a solution to the problem and everyone just talked about the problem. How are we suppose to change the world if all we do is talk about the problem? I don't get it. Cassidy did show us a video of people rallying to get the U.S. out of their home countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, and many more. She left the morning session with this.

I was excited for the afternoon session today because we were going to Chinatown. I didn't really know what the discussion was about until I got there. We arrived at a Chinese Charter School called Folk Arts-Cultural Treasure Charter School. While inside the building, I scanned around the room to see what the place did. With my very very limited Chinese, I was able to read some of the stuff people wrote and did. We were then led into a multi-purpose room and sat in a circle with the director of the school, Ellen Somekawa. She talked about some of the racial injustice Asian students faced in a local high school, South Philadelphia High School. I was sad and angry to hear that these Asian students were jumped by their classmates while walking home and the school did nothing about it even though people complained. That is the most irresponsible thing that I have ever heard of happening in a school's admin. Isn't safety of the students the first priority of the school? Yet why are people letting this happen and also the principal responds with "It's  South Philadelphia High School, this is bound to happen." First off, how in the world did the school district find this principal? Secondly, why didn't the principal report it to the district? But wait! After the district found out they did nothing about it. This is a disgrace. Shame on them for not acknowledging this problem publicly. Fortunately the Asian American United union, which is against all types of racism and oppression, got involved and fought a hard battle. I admire their perseverance and patience for doing this.

Ms. Somekawa let us walk around the multi-purpose room and we saw some large banners of some sort which were put on a stand with some information regarding the high school bullying incident. Ms. Somekawa explained to us that there are three different pillars to racism. Every racial group has experienced more than one of these pillars. She ended with this note and promoted the Asian American United group.

After we got off the subway to go back to campus, we hurried to the Fisher-Bennett hall to attend a short ballet performance performed by professional ballet dancers Anna Carapellotti and Jake Allison. They performed a short excerpt from Spartacus. The play was amazing and it was really nice to see a ballet performance up close. After they were done, they explained a bit about the play and had us do some of the plays choreography. It was fun but hard to keep in sync with Anna and Jake. Too bad we didn't have enough time to do discuss about it otherwise it would have been really cool to know why they chose this play and why it's significant. We had to rush over to the Hall of Flags for the Dean of Admissions presentation.

It turns out that the Hall of Flags was where we have been buying lunch for the past three weeks. People from Summer Discovery and the Pre-College course came to this presentation. The Dean of Admission, Dean Eric Furda, talked about the admission process for applying to UPenn and how to know if it's the right college for us. As a Penn alumni himself, he did his best on convincing us to come to UPenn. He had an open Q&A session for students in front of the audience and answered most questions to the best of his ability. He encouraged us to check his website for some advice on applying to Penn and other academic related stuff. 

We didn't get back to our dorms until 9 PM. Everyone was dead tired and went back to their dorms to work on their blog and sleep. I still can't believe that the academy is almost over. Time flew by too fast but I can't keep looking into the past or else I won't be able to appreciate what the future holds. 

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