Written by Amanda Mauri, Friends Select High School (OU 2009) and Ben Perelman, Penn Charter (OU 2009)
Hi again, we’re back. We have now been on the road for five days. Today we went on a tour of the Lower East Side, an area vital to the life of immigrants, and now full of history. One of the most interesting experiences of this tour was when we visited the African-American burial ground. We learned that the burial ground spread over six acres of land but the memorial was only 1/3 of an acre. The rest of the burial ground is covered by predominantly government buildings. This was the first emotional moment of the trip for us, and it led to further discussion over the abuse and lack of concern for others in America.
After the tour, we went to Katz’s deli, a famous Jewish deli in the Lower East Side. We all ate huge sandwiches, and relaxed after a long morning of walking. During the lunch, we came across a group of Boy Scouts from Saudi Arabia. Many of the people in our group were afraid to approach them and start a conversation because of stereotypes that we have been exposed to, but once we initiated a conversation, we realized that they were average young adults and were the type of people that we had a lot in common with. After the conversation, we were very thankful that we found the courage to start an interaction with them because it completely altered our previous stereotypes. We then visited the Tenement Museum which is actually a Tenement house that has been preserved and is used to show the way that many immigrants were forced to live upon their arrival to America. They do this by acting out the typical lifestyle of a 14 year old girl from Spain. This was done as a way to help understand the severe conditions that immigrants were forced to live under.
Ben and Amanda