Monday, July 14, 2014

Day 8: "Movements Begin With the Telling of Untold Stories"

After a restful and rejuvenating weekend, I was ready to tackle another week of class. Based on my experiences from the week before, I was largely hoping to be as enlightened as I had over the course of those five days, in this week. Everything I had learned so far had truly opened my eyes to the greater, less public issues that plague society.

For the morning session, the organization called Media Mobilizing Project. To begin they showed us a brief video that outlined the basis of what they strived for. Their goals revolved around fighting against unemployment, housing, documentation, unions etc. Each topic that was mentioned within the video revolved not only with pressing social issues that plagued Pennsylvania, but also issues that were present throughout the nation. A quote from the video that truly impacted me was "a good society is where everyone needs are met". This made me think of the pressing issues that not only plague my community, but also the nation as a whole. Everyday there a children whose needs are not met or families who are so financially unstable that they cannot even have assurance of where their next meal will come from. An aspect from this part of the presentation was the fact that "respect and dignity is defined, in the U.S. by Social Security. After portraying, what their goals were they began discussing what the obstacles that have stood their way have been. Among these were the fact that media coverage over "minor" issues is very difficult to obtain. Media plays a very critical part in society, especially in terms of advocating a cause, however, sometimes these forces have stood in the way of progress for the MMP (Media Mobilizing Project). We also learned how the media is tightly controlled by six giants who are responsible for 90% of what we watch and read. Companies such as CBS, Time Warner, Comcast and even Disney are responsible for the media monopoly which has encompassed all of the U.S. In the second part of their presentation they showed us a second video, entitled "Our school are not for sale", which discussed the pressing issue of schools being shut down in Philadelphia. It illustrated how the legislation of the city had intent to close 64 schools by 2017 and how 94% of the current schools still open are underfunded. From this part one quote stuck with me most profoundly was "if we don't change, we don't grow", which basically makes the statement that if the situation is not altered our future is in danger. Education is the catalyst for functioning society. By depriving youth from it, not only do you eliminate their chance to progress in life, but also endanger the future as the youth of today will one day be at the forefront of the this nation.

Lunch by this point become relatively routine. Each day, my floormates who were in the Social Justice Academy would head to have lunch together. During this time we usually recapped the lessons we had just been introduced to or merely talking with each other in order to take our minds off of class. Today was no different, however, the issue over education became very prevalent within our discussions. It seemed as though, coming from different backgrounds, schools systems differed immensely from one another and very few times were we able to draw a paralleled comparison between the two. Regardless, this was an eye opening experience because it gave me a perspective from students. Most times, information such as that is based on statistics and numbers rather than actual real-life opinions from students.

The evening section was a bit different than normal. We began with two presentations from two ex teaching assistants of Andy's whom were there to talk to us about two major topics, Historiography and land rights. We analyzed four major perspectives from which the history of India could told. First was of the Imperialist perspective, which refers to the history from the British perspective in terms of colonialism. Second was that of the Nationalist, which viewed colonialism as a bad thing. Third was that of the Marxist point of view which viewed colonialism as the unconscious tool of history. Lastly was that of the Subaltern, which is history from the voiceless. Next was our introduction to land rights within China. Compared to the U.S, which is capitalistic, China is communist which means that land is owned by the government. However, we began further back then that and recapped the overall movement that led China to were it is today. We reviewed the transition between feudalism, capitalism and a blend between communism and socialism.

After class, my day was really uneventful. There was a heavy rain storm that hit and cancelled various of the outdoor excursions going on. In addition, we also had an RC event which we had all decided upon would be a movie night. We watched "The Pursuit of Happyness" which seemed very appropriate for all of us in Social Justice. It was a very powerful movie that talked about inequality in society and the lengths to which a father will go to in order to assure his son a brighter future. This event lasted for most of the evening, but it really allowed everyone within my RC group, which are basically the students on my floor were, to get closer to each other and to be able to bond more.

Overall, while not the most event full day, I learned a great deal from my class, especially on issues I had no idea were so prominent in other communities. It was truly and eye opening experience that has inspired me to have a desire to make a change in the world I live in.

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