Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday at Brown

Most would consider today "Lazy Sunday" because there weren't any RA trips today. However, I made the most out of my day by working as hard as I could on two out of three of my projects:

  • The one that I am currently working on is my Amazing Women Monologue. We had to choose a famous woman and now we are doing research about her. We will present her to our class, as well. I chose Amy Chua, the controversial El Cerrito High School and Harvard alum and currently Yale Law School professor who is known for her memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The book focuses on how Chua raised her two daughters, Sophia and Lulu, the "Chinese way", which was seen as abusive by many critics. Sophia practiced piano and Lulu practiced piano up to about six hours a day (yes, a day...not a week), could no attend sleepovers, weren't allowed to watch TV or play computer games, etc. I read the book and have actually emailed and interviewed Ms. Chua. She was very nice and I do not think she was abusive; I think her love for her children showcased in a different way than Western parents. 
  • We have to conduct two Leadership interviews. The first one is of a woman of our choice that is older than us. I interviewed my great Aunt Carolyn, who worked in the U.S. Senate generating good causes in connection to economic policy. Our interview was very interesting; I asked her if she was a feminist and she strongly said no. She then explained the difference between feminism for Caucasian women and feminism for African-American women. She said that African-American women were always involved in the workforce, whereas Caucasian women were housewives and their husbands worked high powered jobs so that their wives couldn't work. She was using the term African-American and Caucasian women loosely. Of course not every woman of that race is going to be like the description Aunt Carolyn gave me. I definitely learned a lot from the interview.
  • Action Plan: Step Three! Today we wrote out an outline of our Action Plan. As I started the worksheet, I was unsure. I thought of my topic: is this what I truly want to do? But as I began to organize my thoughts, I truly realized that I was hitting the right now. What is my Action Plan, you might ask? My Action Plan is about raising awareness and educating my local community, the WCCUSD, and El Cerrito High School about the achievement gap controversy. The achievement gap is the merit-based difference between majority students (Asians and Caucasians) and minority students (African-Americans and Hispanics). Statistics show that Asians and Caucasians do much better than African-Americans and Hispanics on state tests and in accordance to graduating from high school and going on to attend college. My plan of action is to hold information sessions for freshman classes, generate tutoring, hold assemblies, and write articles for local newspapers about the controversy. I was named the president of Angaza, El Cerrito High School's club and non-profit organization that is dedicated to fixing the achievement gap and decreasing the drop-out rate within our school. I feel like this Action Plan will help me develop the club with my new position and make a positive change for the school and community. I called my family tonight and was blushing with happiness when they gave me their positive feedback. 
We had a workshop tonight about Action Plans as well. I was intrigued to hear Olga, Alex, Tiffany, and Catherine's testimonies about their Action Plans:
  • Alex educated middle school kids about the government, and these kids raised awareness and wrote letters to Congress about a school that had no textbooks but desperately needed them. The letters worked and the school was granted with the textbooks. Essentially, Alex's action plan was to teach kids on how to conduct action plans
  • Olga raised awareness about the 2008 Presidential election for middle school kids
  • Tiffany spread awareness about the need for organic and healthy lunch meals in her high school and the need for closer grocery markets instead of liquor stores in Oakland, California (where she is from)
  • Catherine raised awareness for middle school kids about poverty in Africa 
It was very interesting and provided good information to all of the Leadership Institute students. The four RA's informed us about their struggles and frustrations (getting people to finance, listen, and support their aspirations) and the good times (knowing that they educated people and made a difference). It definitely made me think about how I will possibly deal with bumps in the road for my Action Plan. It also made me really excited about Symposium for Action Plans, which is held in November at Brown. Leadership students come back to work on their Action Plans. I want to be accepted to that so badly. I love it here at Brown and definitely want to come back to work more on my Plan with these supportive people. Everyone at Brown is amazing and willing to help anyone with anything.

Later tonight most of us relaxed in the Estro-Den (aka the lounge...don't ask about the name....haha) and had a discussion about dorm life and activities with Olga. Most of the questions were directed about her knowledge of Emma Watson (they were in the same dorm house last school year).

I am so sad that this is my last week in Providence. I don't want to leave, not just yet. I love the city, everything we get to do here, the food (the pizza is so much better here than it is back home), the people...and I've actually adapted to the weather. I can safely call Providence my second home.

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