Well, it has been a really long time since I wrote… I was hoping I could post something after the fact, but one thing led to another and life as a Westtown student kept getting in the way. So where do I stand now? I think I will start by saying that this trip has been one of the most valuable experiences of my Westtown career. It is all well and good to learn about social injustice issues from the safety of a classroom, but to truly understand one has to be on the ground, feeling the experience. A quote that I love (and have no idea where it came from or if I am getting it perfectly correct) is: “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, let me do it and I will understand.” I feel like I now understand, on a level I never could have before.
The question that this begs, of course, is now that I have this experience and understanding, what do I do with it? How do I more forward and live my life in the light of this and what can I do for change?
One initiative that we learned about while there is called the BDS Movement (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions), which is aimed at gaining human rights for the Palestinians through the means of pressuring Israel through the only means we have: their wallets (for those interested in more information, their website: < http://www.bdsmovement.net/ >). To this end, and couple of friends of mine from the trip and I are beginning an attempt to bring this movement to Westtown. So what does that mean? We are still in the planning stages, but the end goal would involve convincing the school to examine its investment portfolio and divest from corporations who are supporting actions by the Israeli government that propagate the crisis (ie. Caterpillar, which is developing remote controlled bulldozers for the Israeli army’s housing demolitions). Will it work? I honestly don’t know. I don’t even know yet if there is anything offensive in the schools investment portfolio, but it is worth a try.
One of the ways I am trying to live my life is to serve as a representative of a more complete view of the problem than most Americans get via our wonderful news media (I’m not being sarcastic there… not at all…). An example of this is when a few weeks back a few members of our group gave a presentation to the school Board of Trustees where we shared some of our stories and answered questions (and which I was blessed to be a part of). Another example of how we should (and are) be living is when some other members (whom I was unfortunately not among) went to Wilmington Friends and spent the day talking to some of the classes there.
It may sound a little corny and clichéd, but awareness really is an invaluable thing. It is a crime when good people who know better keep silent, and therefore share I shall.