– Siona Bebchick
Today we started our morning off by visiting Walden Pond, a beautiful historic sight where Henry David Thoreau, a man of knowledge and wisdom, lived a fulfilled life while rebelling against the world. Thoreau is known for his books Walden Pond and When Thoreau Went to Jail. Both novels explain his core beliefs and values of the world, along with the details of how he developed transcendentalism. Because of his simplistic thinking, he chose not to conform to the people around him and, more so, decided to go against the government by not paying taxes, all a sign of civil disobedience.
At the pond, we discussed the ideas of Henry David Thoreau and how he made an impact on the world today. By rebelling against society, he proved a point and created change for the future. Similarly, we read and analyzed different quotes that Thoreau said throughout his life. I believe the main ideas of the quotes were, be yourself, don’t let others determine your future because you are the only one that is living it, and if you want to make the change, you must understand the impact of actions, especially on others. I felt that the conversation was enlightening and gave perspective on how Thoreau lived and perhaps why he had such success proving his point.
After our time at Walden Pond, we drove to Harvard Square for a conversation revolving around the topics of welfare, the wealth gap, and student debt in America. Although everyone takes a different standpoint on these topics, I think the conversation mainly stemmed from how the system works. We discussed how, if everyone started on the same playing field, those who were rich would be unhappy and would argue that they worked for it, and those who were struggling to pay for college should have done more to achieve the money and, therefore, it is not fair that the poorer people get an advantage. This is the concept of equity, equality, and reality. They all play a similar role in how we grasp the concept of the wealth gap. Overall the conversation was really interesting and prepared us for the conversation we had with a United for a Fair Economy speaker later in the afternoon.
We continued our day by going for lunch in Harvard Square and exploring the small town around the university. I went for Vietnamese food, which was delicious, and then took a walk around the town and looked through the campus bookstore. It was relaxing and a good way to spend the mid-afternoon.
Later, we talked with Jennette Huezo, and we discussed the wealth gap between different communities and how people’s backgrounds, races, gender, and socioeconomic status affect a person’s income and economic benefits. during this meeting, we did two activities that included various forms of statistics that were based on different types of people and families’ statuses and how they would be affected throughout the years, how each family’s income would change because the government made policies limiting the access to money during the last 40+ years. Something that stood out to me in the conversation was how she viewed the solutions for the wealth gap problems. She said that there needs to be education both for ourselves and for those around us so as to grasp the concept in a better way. She also talked abt how critical thinking is important so that we understand we are not living in a perfect world, and it will never be a perfect world until we all live in reality and figure out a way to change it successfully.
Towards the end of the day, we had a discussion about the legalization of marijuana to prepare us for a meeting with NORML. We discussed the pros and cons of legalizing weed, along with some of the implications that may arise if it were to be made legal in all states in the country. Topics such as addiction, education, and economic benefits were very prevalent during the talk. Overal,l it was really interesting to hear different people’s perspectives and understand that we can discuss a controversial topic in an open and civil environment.
Lastly, we walked to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall for dinner, where we were able to get a variety of different foods and hang out together. After that, we walked to the Boston Holocaust memorial sight which displayed all the lives lost during the holocaust. It was moving and inspirational to see the different ways people can be represented and remembered, along with the specific details that make the memorial move.