August 28, 2012, by JC
I am writing this letter for a project in our Swadeshi unit. Swadeshi means to support the local economy and culture because it is more resilient than a global economy and globalized culture. This letter is about the local economy and I was supposed to find one issue that was wrong with my neighborhood. We were supposed to find three things and explain why they were a problem and how they could be fixed. I was then supposed to choose the one that I found was the most important, which to me was about an exit off of Lakeshore Drive. It is the stop right by the zoo’s entrance and how there is always a very long wait at that exit because of the oncoming traffic. Here is the letter.
Dear Ms. Alderman,
Hello I am James Curcio from the school Global Citizenship Experience High School. I composed this letter to you to tell you about the stop off Lakeshore Drive right by the zoo’s entrance and how there is always a very long wait at that exit because of the oncoming traffic.
I see this problem almost everyday when I go by there to go fishing ,when I drive through the stop and I also hear friends and family complaining about it. To me this seems like a long wait to have just to get off of the highway. Sometimes it takes me five to ten minutes to get off here. I do not see this issue at any other stops, which means it can be fixed.
The effects that this problem causes are numerous including environmental hazards and people’s moods. The main issue I think that this poses is that people are late to work, because they do not adjust their schedule. This jam creates them to be angry the rest of the day which means they are unlikely to help the local economy by going out to dinner or working to their best capability. Another issue is that it is a threat to people who are crossing the street and in their cars. The pedestrians have to be daring to cross the street here because all of the cars are driving unusually dangerously to get out of this stop, which means that they have the potential of getting hit. It is dangerous for the cars because if they are not driving cautiously they may crash and injure themselves. It also Is terrible pollution wise because it makes cars sit idling around creating air pollution. Finally it forces the drivers to purchase more fuel which makes money get sent away out of the local economy which is bad for the city.
I have come up with a few ways that this problem could be fixed. You could put in stoplights, which would create a better flow. Another thing that you could do is by putting up stop signs for both sides so that way people could get off easier. What I believe to be the best way is to construct another bridge at this stop for the cars coming off that would connect a little farther up the road.
This stop was a large issue to me because it poses many different types of threats including large ones like the environment, wasted money on fuel, and people being late. If fixed this would create a much safer and healthier community, which would make people in general more joyous. This would boost the local economy because people would not be giving their money to major companies and would be instead spending it on items from the neighborhood. Thank you for listening.
August 16, 2012, by JC
I created this poster to educate people and show that racism still exists in the United States. I was hoping to see what everyone learned from reading this poster and how they will change. Please leave a comment with your answers to: What actions would you have taken if Patrick Hall had started a business in your community?How would you have acted if your child went to that high school? and What will you do differently in your everyday life?
August 7, 2012, by JC
I researched the Iranian election of 2010. This was an election that was looked forward to because the people thought that they would be getting a new president instead of Ahmedinajad. Unfortunately, there were suspicions that the elections were rigged so that Ahmedinajad would stay in power, which got people upset and they protested and were shot at and gassed. Through my investigation and questions, I believe that the elections were changed because of the masses that were protesting the election outnumbered the people who did not vote for the president.
The answers that I received from my questions confirmed my thoughts about Iran, that the government is still in the past and is holding back its population. It is because the government is a theocracy, which is where the main religion holds a powerful part in the government. The way that I see for this problem to be fixed is by creating a similar system to the United States, but instead of having a president it should have a large congress-like unit that runs the country. These members could be voted on by each region. If they were abusing their power and using it to harm the people, then I think the region could call together a vote to overthrow this person and put in someone else.
The reason that Iran’s current system does not work is because anyone with all of the power never wants to give it up. This creates the need for the president to do something about their power loss so they will use all of their time bribing people and wasting resources, instead of winning over voters by making decisions to help the country. Also, they have a certain group of people who decide what is right and what is wrong in the government, and are going along with the government because they get benefits of power. This is the reason that they can not move forward because people will always abuse their power.
I interviewed my friend SM and I used the website Aljazeera for my research.
Without this you could not form together or do any parts of Gandhian principles because right when you spoke bad about the government you would be arrested so this is a key factor in these. I think the main one that this relates to though is sarvodaya because it requires everyone to come together.
That you can be of any religion that you want and do not have to be the government’s religion
People are not forced into the government’s religion and they can be free to make their own choices. The government should not be controlled by religion
This would create more unity between people which would also make diversity which is sarvodaya
It means that people can come together and protest peacefully without a permit and peaceful means that there is no violence and no one is getting hurt physically.It means that people could say their feelings towards the government easier.
It would make Swadeshi easier because they would not face as much violent opposition.
July 24, 2012, by JC
Many people in
As if they were
To have a voice
We Shall Overcome
I teach that
We are all one
And that to overcome
Anything we must
That I am communistic
To slander me
I do not
I look at it as
To be included
My school came
Give the miners
I accept everyone
To my school
No one is
My Freedom Song
I am Strength
Not in the sense
Of physical but
I push past racism
In my everyday life
I do not use it as
A crutch for personal
I do not allow
People to take
I object racial slander
I do not let it impact my
I strive for a world
With no racial attacks
And I fight this with my
When I see racism
I will tell
The user that this
Horrendous act towards
I was the
The students of
I use my words as my
Sinking the holders
Of racial terms
Breaking the barriers
To push out most
Of these terms
Until they are
July 24, 2012, by JC
For our Global Peace class we are learning about sarvodaya which means everything rising peacefully and we can see good examples of actions taken by people in the Civil Rights Movement. One assumption that I had before this interview was that almost all white people was against African American rights and those who were for it were out protesting. This interview showed me that not all of the people who were against this discrimination were in the marches or were protesting. Instead they were peacefully telling their freinds that they were wrong and would stand up to them. Here is part of my interview with my mom.
Q: Do you have any experiences in your life with segregation or driscrimination? Please explain.
A:I knew that segregation was going on from what friends and family said about but I saw discrimination in my everyday life. One time that I remember is that my dad once was organizing a party and invited a black family. Some of the others invited to the party did not agree with this choice. My dad then told them that if they did not like it that they should not come over.
April 23, 2012, by HT
The purpose of this piece is to express, through a Mandala, my experiences with the book Siddhartha and with what I learned from the Endurance and Enterprise classes. I am proud of this piece because I could tell many stories and make many connections with this Mandala.
I chose to make a sculpture, because it represents what I want to do for my future — to become an engineer. I learned that mandala is made of your soul and your dreams.
Here is my Mandala
LEGEND OF SYMBOLS
seed = Me
red = spicy: difficult life
green = bitter: sad life
blue = salty: angry life
white= sweet: happy life
April 2, 2012, by zf
While studying Swadeshi, the idea of having self sufficient, small economic communities, I looked for a way to translate that into the world around me. There are a few really fantastic small companies in my hometown that exemplify what Swadeshi is, but I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to protest on a local level. So instead, I decided to take the fight to a bigger audience, namely, Apple. I wrote a letter to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple to ask him for more transparency in the manufacturing of Apple products so we could stop the horrendous treatment of employees at Apple companies. Below is my letter:
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014
March 1, 2012
Dear Mr. Cook,
Please accept this letter as a formal protest of the inhumane working conditions at Foxconn. The working conditions at the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China have become beyond unbearable. Workers are paid and being forced into twenty to twenty-four hour shifts. The plant had to put in suicide nets to prevent the mass amounts of people from jumping off the roofs of Foxconn. This is an inexcusable violation of human rights.
I understand that without the low wages Apple pays their workers, I couldn’t get my computer, the one I am typing on to write this letter, or my iPhone or iPod for as cheap as I have. But I am more than willing to sacrifice a little of my money for better working conditions for all.
I think the first step in remedying this situation is to have complete transparency regarding where, who and what our money is going to when we buy an Apple product. A fantastic example of how this transparency works is on the website www.honestby.com. Every part of the process for making the clothing they produce is documented and given out to the public. I think this is how every company should be treating their products. To hide the truth of where your products come from is to say the your customers do not deserve to know the truth, and a company shouldn’t disrespect the people that are giving it its money. This would help give a clearer view of where to make changes to everyone involved.
Once there is transparency in the information being released by Apple, a more humane and better decision can be reached for us all.
February 29, 2012, by zf
Swaraj is the idea of being self-sovereign. It is about learning how to take control of your world and not letting other forces take away your control over your own life. Swaraj has been one of the most influential themes in all the movements that have taken place in the past year. Everything from the Occupy movement to the Arab Spring began with someone saying that they were fed up, that they wanted a change. And it wasn’t just that these people wanted a change, it was that they wanted to be the ones to make their ideas a reality. Swaraj has been shown throughout the world as a contagious system of empowerment. I did a project based on the movement taking place in Syria right now, a movement that has unfortunately taken a bloody and violent turn.
In order to achieve swaraj, many people have had to make sacrifices for what they believe in. Syrians are currently using many different nonviolent methods to achieve swaraj. They have been handing out leaflets, and other forms of literature to make sure people in Syria are aware of what is happening and why it is happening. The internet has also been a major contributor to the movement because it has helped people spread the message and make sure the world is aware of their fight for self-government.
February 15, 2012, by zf
Apartheid was a system of legal, heavily enforced segregation in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. It was developed and enforced by the minority party of Afrikaners, South Africans of Dutch, German and French descent. South African politics are very volatile because of the large mix of people in the country. The population is a mix of black and white citizens, Afrikaners and people of British descent, not to mention the many different tribes of native Africans who live in South Africa. Unfortunately, because of the history of the power struggles in South Africa, there are a lot of disagreements between the different groups. A fantastic movie to explain these issues is The Power of One, a movie made in 1992 about the beginning of Apartheid in South Africa. After watching this movie, I conducted an interview with Antony van Zyl, an Afrikaner South African who now lives in Chicago. He left South Africa because he was not supportive of the Apartheid system and it was becoming a dangerous place for him.
1. Tell me about your childhood (where did you grow up, when, etc.)
I was born in 1965 and raised in South Africa, a child of an Afrikaner family. In many ways I had a great childhood living in what, to me, was a very safe and secure place. The best comparison I can make would be on par growing up in the late forties, early fifties of the Southern USA.
2. How did your experiences as a child affect your view of apartheid?
Apartheid was not a choice – it was the law. It was an institutionalized, socialized way of life and as such it was all I knew. At that time we had very limited and very controlled media, so there were no external sources of information. It is best to say that I had no view of Apartheid because for me it did not exist. This skewed normalcy was in part the reason why I was so affected later on in life.
3. What images and feelings come to you when you think of this word?
I am assuming you mean Apartheid. It is very mixed. I had a very fortunate childhood. Knowing that it came at the expense of so many others leaves a sense of guilt. I now know that Apartheid was a systematic, brutal and endemic system of subjugation of an entire race of people. Not strangers or foreigners – but the men and woman who I walked past everyday.
4. How did you face it apartheid while you were there and how did you feel about it? Were you active in any movements or do you know anyone who was active in any movements?
I did not face apartheid until I was in college. It was at this time that I was first exposed to any kind of opposition to racial segregation. Only in college did I learn about the ANC and Nelson Mandela. I was not active in any particular movement, but I wrote and took photographs to show the fallacy, the lie of “separate but equal”.
5. (follow-up of Question #4): What did you learn from this situation? If you ever face a similar situation again, would you act differently? How? Knowing what you know now, would you have been more active or less active within that situation?
I learned that the State wields complete power and that resistance by individuals was more than simple courage – it took a degree of belief, and a commitment that went far beyond personal consequence. I learned that information controls thought and though can be manipulated with ease. I was arrested for my activities in South Africa and if I knew then what I know now, what the consequences of my actions would be, I would have been far more afraid to do anything. Ignorance often truly is bliss.
6. How does your experience with apartheid affect what and how you teach your children? And do you think your children’s experiences are different than yours or do they face similar challenges?
It affects everything I do in life and will forever color what I do and how I act. We face a version of Apartheid every day- racism, xenophobia, economic apartheid and a myriad of other evils that grow from ignorance and manipulated information. I hope to teach my children that behind any group, behind any sect there are individuals who must be evaluated on their own merits – over and above the dictates of the group to which they may belong.
7. What made you decide to live in America, and more specifically Evanston? Was it a conscious decision or was it just convenient? If it was conscious, why?
I had no choice but to leave South Africa. America gave me political asylum. It was certainly not convenient I arrived and stayed in Minnesota, but have traveled throughout the US. I moved to Chicago – and subsequently to evanston because of a girl ( being a young man, we do that).
February 15, 2012, by zf
While studying Sarvodaya, one of Gandhi’s four principles, we discussed different types of nonviolent protests in history. The freedom song assignment was used to take a specific person involved in a nonviolent movement and write a poem from their point of view, taking into consideration their uses of Sarvodaya within their protest. I chose to show the work of Lucy Burns, a suffragist in the early twentieth century. I chose to write about her because I value the women who worked hard to make sure that I, and all of the women around me, have the ability to have a voice. Lucy Burns devoted everything she had to the women’s suffrage movement, and I respect her immensely for her sacrifice.
My Freedom Song: