I am not a refugee. I am a white, middle-class, female American. I am a student at a public high school in the suburbs. My country is not being torn apart by genocide. My parents haven’t been killed. My government does not rape me. My family does not live in a tent in the middle of the desert. My community does not get by on a $1.00 per week for food, but my desires and passions connect to those who do.
There are hundreds of us spread out on the lawn of the Washington Monument. There is plenty of room, but we all crowd together, helping and encouraging each other. We are kneeling on the grass, creativity pouring out of us and into our posters- the sounds of markers constantly being capped and uncapped clicking loudly. There’s rushed conversation, people throwing their heads back as they laugh. The overhead clouds are glowing so white; one might mistake it for sunlight shining on the nation’s capitol. From Florida to Alaska, we all took different plane routes to get to our common destination, Washington D.C. We did not know anything about each other except that we were all there with the same goal in mind.
The several hundred of us picked up where the others had left off- trying to make up for the lost time, trying to make up for that generation in between. It was evident from their Washington Monument-sized smiles on their faces, that the generations before us, and even after us, as we watched little children clap their hands and stare at us wide-eyed, are relieved to see that there are teenagers who are willing to fight for change in the world too. Some of us are aware of the world’s issues and are willing to fight for justice. It was the most empowering experience and feeling to k...
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...ures and ethnic groups; they see that everyone is human, and everyone is alike in that way. This is the age where they need to be taught that being different is not wrong, and genocide at all costs, is. “Now, courses focusing on genocide and other human rights violations developed in the early 1970s are part of a larger response to rewriting the curriculum by including subjects and issues traditionally ignored or silenced” (Aspel). Another lesson they need to be taught is the pyramid of hate. At the bottom of the pyramid is prejudiced attitudes which involves scapegoating, and then the next level is acts of prejudice which includes name-calling and ridicule. The next level is discrimination, then violence, and lastly, genocide. When prejudice attitudes and acts of prejudice are seen, they need to be stopped before the situation escalates to something much worse.
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