Etgar 36

Day 16 – Las Vegas

by Eva Beresin

     Today, I woke up early at the hotel and had breakfast before our first speaker. Being in Vegas has been exciting; it feels like the city is always awake!
      After breakfast, we went to talk to the hospitality labor union which was really interesting. I had no idea how much hard work and dedication goes into the hospitality industry. Before the meeting, I didn’t really know much about labor unions at all. At the union, we talked to the Outreach Manager about her work. The hospitality labor union also has a culinary and housekeeping school which provides a variety of classes free of charge for eligible students. Additionally, the union helps people improve their lives with free health benefits, attorneys, classes for English as a second language (ESL), hiring assistance, free food for those who need it, and more.

    Coming into the talk yesterday, I had originally thought that labor unions were simply a group of people with the same career path. I now see that labor unions can give people the knowledge and tools they need to improve their lives. Also, I found it fascinating that if a student had a job for six months, they could come back to the labor union and take more classes to improve their work status.
   In addition to learning about the many great benefits of labor unions, we also learned about the hardships of the hospitality industry. For example, we learned about the large number of people laid off after the collapse of Vegas’s tourism industry due to COVID-19 and the fact that workers are given only short periods of time to clean hotel rooms (despite the large messes people leave and the extremely heavy mattresses). We were also told stories of guests destroying rooms or harming hospitality employees. I never understood how hard it is to work in the hospitality industry and have a newfound appreciation for the people who help “behind-the-scenes” in my life more than I ever would have thought.

     After lunch at Panera and In-N-Out, we went to meet with Niger Innis of the MAGA GOP. Niger gave us a brief summary of the political history of the United States, described the reasons for his support for Donald Trump, and shared some of his other political views. As much as I disagreed with what Niger said, I did agree with him that it is important to find common ground to unite our country. In the past years, America has been experiencing a political divide. Despite the many things that MAGA supporters and I disagree on, we can’t all be satisfied politically unless we all find some things that we both agree on, such as the importance of working together. I also appreciated how the speaker remained calm throughout the whole meeting. While some other speakers have become angry while answering questions, this speaker answered each question that the group asked respectfully. I hope that if people can continue to talk to each other respectfully, we will all be more satisfied with the American political climate.

      Lastly, we went to Meow Wolf, an interactive art exhibit. I already knew a little bit about Meow Wolf but it was more amazing than I ever would have imagined. As I walked through the bright, strange neon rooms, I couldn’t help but think that the whole place resembled acceptance. Even though most of the exhibit didn’t make much sense, I still loved it, accepted it, had a good time. I think that the same principle can apply to real life: even if I don’t totally understand something, I can still appreciate it.

     All in all, today was filled respectful discussion, learning, exploration, and fun. I got to experience a variety of perspectives of life in Vegas and enjoy the city. I look forward to visiting more new places and learning from unique people!