Literacy and Liberty

A Simple Token of Gratitude
Posted by: , October 3, 2018, 2:54 pm
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Sometimes the smallest gestures make the make the most impacts. As I strolled through campus, I searched for tall statues, elaborate murals, and designated buildings that were established as war memorials. Eventually, I stumbled into a small plaque erected roughly forty feet adjacent to the Stern Center in a shaded, seating area.

The plaque, which reads “In memory of all those lost in the tragedies of September 11, 2001” lies under a multitude of trees. Even though the plaque projects a simple phrase, its words strike the hearts of Americans who remember the tragic attacks of 2001. As a person who was only two during the event, the plaque still sends chills through me as I reflect on the facts I read about the attacks. The memorial has such a profound effect because its sentiment is straight to the point and powerful. No one has to ponder its meaning because they know of the event and the impact it has on the country.

The memorial described in “Elegy for the Native Guards” honors those who were white-confederate soldiers and not the black soldiers. However, the 9/11 memorial outside of Stern honors every person, no matter race, gender, age, etc., who died from the attacks. Even though the memorial honors the deaths of all victims, many Americans still do not respect and consider the death of Middle-Eastern Americans who were also victims because they are stereotyped as “terrorists”. It is easy to pat ourselves on the back and say we’ve progressed from confederate soldier memorials to current memorials, however, Americans cannot be too flattered because of the consistent disregard for Middle-Eastern citizens who are also victims of terrorist attacks (just like whites and other people of color).

Blog 2- Learning to Read and Write (Jacob DeCarli)
Posted by: , September 19, 2018, 5:54 pm
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Nothing brings back childhood memories more like Sheil Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”. As I opened the freshly printed book with my mom, the innocent sketches of trees and apples invigorated my three-year-old mind. My desire to understand the meaning behind the illustrations grew, so my mom decided to start teaching me how to read.


Like Frederick Douglass, the first steps towards my literary education involved assembling different letters into words. As a toddler who had minimal experience with reading, a 2 sentenes seemed like climbing Mount Everest. However, my patient mom helped me to sound out each letter to eventually form a word. The first couple of nights were difficult; I stumbled on words and forgot some pronunciations. Needless to say, we did not read the full book for a while. One night, as we sat in my tiny bed, the words and sentences began to flow out of my mouth seamlessly. The mysterious illustrations now had context, and I was finally able to enjoy the story.


My journey to newfound literacy is commonly experienced by children all across America–we become interested in a colorful book, and our parents help us to read it. However, there are many children in the country and in the world who are deprived from such a wonderful milestone. Whether in third world countries, or inner cities, children do not have the financial or educational privileges to become literate and read books. In context of Fredrick Douglass’s narrative, he did not experience the literary journey that his white master’s children experienced. Instead, he had to rely on learning words and sentences from people on the street, and old books from the white children on the plantation. Literacy should be a right, not a privilege because reading is in our everyday lives. However, as time progresses, children still do not have the ability to become literate.



Escaping the Hatred
Posted by: , September 3, 2018, 7:37 pm
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The minds of children possess the ability to become easily influenced by powerful words. As a young Roman-Catholic teenager, my whole perspective on various issues revolved around the authoritative figures of the church and their beliefs.┬áDuring my last year of Sunday school, the class was required to read a text titled, “Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons? And 199 Other Questions from Catholic Teenagers.” The purpose of the question-answer book is to address certain misconceptions and questions young teenagers have about their transition to adulthood within the Catholic faith. I hesitated to read this book because of my knowledge that the Catholicism preaches more conservative views that are sometimes offensive. The section of the text that personally affected me involved the topic of homosexuality. As a fourteen year old, my sexuality was hidden for fear that people would reject me as a person in society. The Catholic church views homosexuality as a sin, so no surprise surfaced that the book would preach its anti-gay view. However, it was unexpected that the author of the book would write as though gay people lacked the qualities of a human being. ┬áThe author, Ken Ham, addressed LGBT community as disgusting, sinful, and possessing no moral code. After reading the humiliating words on the pages, I knew that my involvement within the Catholic Church could not continue if I wanted to live my life freely without persecution. After reading the book of proclaimed hatred, my respect and loyalty for Catholicism quickly faded away.