– Mabel Rieger
Today we continued our journey to NYC but stopped at Kent State University and Cleveland!
We began our day in Kent, Ohio /and had an extremely powerful meeting with Chic Canfora. She discussed her presence at the Kent State anti-war protests in response to the Vietnam War. She discussed her powerful story and how she was not involved in the war until her brothers were drafted. In the wake of this news, she looked deeper into the cause and realized she did not know why we were sending our troops to die in an impossible war. She talked about the confusing and sad realization that the United States, despite the stories she had been told, isn’t always the good guy in war. She revealed that the weekend leading up to the Kent State massacre, she was involved in protests involving property destruction. She continued, telling us that other peaceful protests erupted and were faced with the National Guard. Finally, she described how they joined a nationwide student strike, and as she finished her story, we walked the route that the protesters did and stood where the National Guard stood when they began firing on the peaceful assembly. She discussed how she, her brother, friends, and fellow unarmed students were shot. It was an incredibly powerful and emotional experience. We talked to her after she described how the rising college tuitions “have stripped you from the time to think and dream.” It was a moving experience that allowed us to understand the sheer violence that happened that day.
Then, we drove to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, where we learned how music aided protest movements throughout history, like the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. After our time with the educators at the museum, we had time to explore the museum on our own. We saw clothing and instruments from historical artists and the provocative impact artists from the Beatles to Eminem had on society. We ended the day by continuing our drive to New York, checking two more states off the list, Ohio and Pennsylvania!