Tonight we watched Hotel Rwanda – this movie is powerful and emotive. We didn’t have enough time to process it and as an instructor I always dread sending students off without some measure of positivity. Not that I believe my words can turn their moods, but I felt it important to share my sense of pride and passion for this topic and them …
This is another one of those evenings where your faces, shock and emotion stick with me. So here is another (albeit long) e-mail I’d like you to read … Kelly, it’s not an apology 🙂
I am glad we watched Hotel Rwanda and you all were there to engage it with me and each other. I do wish, however, we had more time to process it. If we did, I would have said a few things that you’ll start to hear me repeat as we continue our journey together.
First, I cannot tell you how proud I am of you and how blessed I feel to have each of you be a part of this course. You may think it silly for me to be proud of you for enrolling in a class and if that were the case you’d be right. I’m not so much proud of you for taking the class as I am for how you approach each week and what you all bring to the class. Many of you have mentioned how excited you are for the trip and to engage in service. We’ve also discussed privilege and its role in service. What gets lost in that important discussion is the fact that YOU DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. If we weren’t taking this class we wouldn’t be running the blog. If we weren’t running the blog hundreds of people wouldn’t read your reflections and share it with others. You wouldn’t talk to your friends about this and they wouldn’t think about it and perhaps pass it on. This is called diffusion. This is called passion and this is what makes you so very important in this world.
Think for a minute – you are 12 people in Harrisonburg, VA thinking about and learning about these major issues. But you’re not just learning about them to pass an exam or write a paper, you’re learning about them to make an impact, to engage different communities, to give voice and to make the world a better place. What we fail to realize so often with big problems is that the problems are actually really simple – the problems are people. If we engage them we can change them. I believe in all of you and your ability to create and be the change you want to see in the world.
Genocide is dark, refugee issues are heart wrenching. But, the reason I study it and the reason I hope you study it is one filled in hope and inspiration. Hope for a better today and a better tomorrow and inspiration from the resilience of the human spirit. The Lost Boys and all their successes are inspirational.
We must see the beams of light at the end of the tunnel and never forget we are engaging this topic and learning from these fellow brothers and sisters of humanity as activists. This learning and this service is freedom and it is justice. You are freedom and justice.