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New York City – Day 1

– Mayah Loventhal

This morning we woke up at 6:30 and began our bus ride from Pennsylvania to New York City at 7:30. On today’s ride, most people slept or rested (including me), which was a relaxing time. We drove for about three and a half hours and then stopped to pick up lunch at Wawa. I was eager to see what a Wawa is like since I live in Georgia, where we don’t have this food service. It ended up having a wide selection of food and, in my opinion, it was as good as I anticipated it to be! 

Then we drove two more hours and finally arrived in New York City. We dropped our bags off at our hotel on 28th Street and then walked to Dentons, the largest law firm in the world, to have our discussion with Evan Wolfson. He talked about his experience leading the “Freedom to Marry” organization and fighting for marriage equality. One thing he mentioned that stuck with me is three words that describe the efforts he made to achieve marriage equality: hope, clarity, and tenacity. The fight begins with hope, and you need to believe you can actually change what you want to be changed. Clarity was important because he and his teammates needed to be clear about their goals and strategies. Finally, he explained how tenacity was crucial since change takes time and doesn’t happen easily, but if you continue to fight even in the rough moments, the situation will improve. After he told us more about his background, education, and his role in the fight for marriage equality, we finished off the discussion by asking questions. 

Next, we walked down the street and had some free time for dinner. A few of my friends and I went to Popeyes for dinner, which was very filling! Then we walked around Times Square until it was time to head to the theatre for the Broadway musical “Parade.” Though this was my first time attending a Broadway show, and I’ve never considered myself a Broadway fan, the show really blew me away! The show takes place in Georgia during the early 1900s, in which a man named Leo Frank is accused of raping and killing a young girl in his pencil factory. The play continues by portraying Leo as a rich Jewish man who is slowly discovering himself. During this time period, Jews were viewed as self-dependent people who came from the wealthy class, and because of this, society felt Leo Frank was an easy target to pin the crimes on. Although there was another suspect, by the end of the play, we learn that Leo Frank was lynched and killed due to his alleged involvement with the girl.

While the play is based on a true story, the actual details of the case remain unknown due to the lack of evidence and information given back in the 1900s. Overall, Parade describes the struggles people experienced during the 1900s, such as racial discrimination, love, strong rooted beliefs in religion, and truth telling, ultimately contributing to the storyline of Leo Frank.