Thursday, July 7, 2016

A New Door has Been Opened.. My Eyes Have Been Too.

Jahnvi and I locked the hotel room and started to walk down the hall towards the elevator until Jahnvi realized that she wasn't wearing any shoes. We both began to laugh and Jahnvi ran back to the hotel to slip a pair of shoes on. 

We met Mom in the lobby early in the morning, 7:45 AM  to be exact. We were getting ready to head out and start the long day we had ahead of us. Mom gave us a quick run through of our plans for that day. We quickly walked down to the parking space, got into the family van, and headed off to Emory University. 

We got on campus around 8:30 AM. As soon as I stepped foot on that campus I realized how comfortable I felt. It wasn't just the shoes that I wore. I felt at home. In California, I have less than a handful of universities that I am interested in and finding another is exiting.

We first went into the Oxford Admissions building and waited for the presentation to start. We were soon taken into a moderately sized room, got front seats, and were greeted by admission officer Ally Paauwe. She spoke of a variety of things. She spoke of the internships available, study abroad opportunities, class structure, the application process, history of Emory University and Oxford College. The presentation was very useful and encouraged me to want to apply this upcoming fall. From the entire presentation, I was glad to hear about the opportunity to study at Oxford College for the first to years of college and then being able to transition to Emory University. I also was exited to hear about the connections Emory has with my future job(Center for Disease Control & Prevention). 

Meeting Emory's unofficial mascot.
After the presentation, Jahnvi and I approached Ally and asked her a few questions about the senior thesis, financial aid, and minors. It was lovely getting to speak with Ally, she was very enthusiastic and made my desire to apply to Emory stronger.

We then were introduced to our tour guides. My cohort had the privilege to meet and be guided by recent graduate Maddie Clifton.

Jahnvi and I with Ally Paawe.
As we walked around the campus, I realized how happy the people were to be there even if the the whole student body was not on campus. Maddie did a great job in showing the best of Emory. All that was said helped give me an idea of the campus life and all that Emory has in store for me. Once the tour ended, we went back to the Oxford Admissions building and asked any
remaining questions. Jahnvi and I took pictures with Ally and Maddie and we all soon went to the student store. 
Jahnvi and I with Maddie Clifton.

Afterwards, we went to eat and hit the road to go to the Civil Rig
hts Museum, the Coca Cola museum and the Aquarium.

The cohort split up. Jae-An and I went to go see the Civil Rights Museum while the rest went to go see the Coca Cola museum. 

I entered the museum to see a mural of a yellow hand surrounded by many other images. The fist in the air was obviously not painted on a blank canvass for simply aesthetics. The fist represents all of the obstacles that people of color, especially African Americans, have overcome and continue to overcome as the generations progress. The painting was to reassure that the movement for Civil Rights still lives on and that the silenced will always be represented and given a voice through the movement.

The Silenced.
The Effort.

After a couple of minutes of being in the Civil Rights Museum, I realized that I made the right decision to not go to the Coca Cola Museum. My experience at the museum was very emotional, I cannot simply explain it without missing many crucial details. But, since I encountered many things throughout the two hours we were given, I will sum it up to the main exhibit that changed the way I view society.

I walked up to a booth that had an audio recording. On the black wall beyond the table there was a timer, and a question of whether we were able to get through the simulation. Being an individual who likes to take on challenge, I sat on the booth, put on the headphones, pressed a big red button, placed my hands flat on the table, and closed my eyes. From the second I put on those headphones, I realized that this was nothing to be taken as a challenge. I heard the voice of hateful men scream in my ear and bottles break. It felt real. I was no longer sitting at a booth. I was sitting at a bar and viewed my surroundings through the eyes of  an African American man. I heard the white man whisper in my ear that he was going to kill me if I didn't leave in a matter of seconds. I heard the group of men behind me beat another man and told me they would do the same to me if I didn't leave. I was no longer the individual taking on a challenge that seemed simple. I was scared and felt vulnerable. I lasted a minute and 43 seconds. I achieved my goal, but did not feel at all glad that I did. I was left disgusted of where the U.S. used to be and where it continues to be. I was left shaking and teary-eyed. My throat was dry and was breathing heavily.
How Long Would You Last?

In moments like these, I don't know whether having such pride in my nationality is right. But, it is through moments like what I experienced in that bar where I begin to understand that all that I have now is through the efforts of other people. I am proud of all that has been accomplished. Not only in the fight against racism. I am also proud of what has been achieved by the movements for gender equality, LGBT rights, immigrant rights and all of the other movements to improve the conditions of the oppressed.

Today was the day I added another college to my list of colleges, and was also he day I was faced with reality. I am thankful for having been given the opportunity to be able visit a beautiful University and am thankful for having been given the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of another, even if it wasn't great. 

No comments:

Post a Comment