Wednesday, December 5, 2018

For a Weekend Retreat Came a Treat

For a Weekend Retreat Came a Treat
By: Keairra Lee

Stockton students boarding the bus to return to Stockton University

Fourteen Stockton students packed up their belongings that they had brought with them and headed to the school bus, signifying that their weekend retreat had come to an end. However, many of the students boarded the bus with new thoughts running through their minds.
On November 16, 2018, Stockton University hosted a retreat that welcomed all students to enjoy a weekend full of fun, food and activities, but mostly to bring students together from different backgrounds with hopes of leaving the retreat feeling as one. The retreat had many different topics and issues that were covered during the sessions, which included race, gender, privilege and more. Like expected, the students went into the sessions with a guard up and and ready for war, preparing themselves for anything that might have been said that they were not going to agree with. The students sat in chairs around a circle, gave their name, who they identified as, and their true thoughts on America’s biggest issues that stop all Americans from coming together as a whole.
Over the next couple of days, students were about to live with strangers they had never seen before, even in passing through the schools campus. Little did any of them know, they would leave the retreat greeting one another like they had known each other since they were five years old. One particular student stood out the most. Emmanuella, a nineteen year old freshman from Africa who has only been in America for six years had many concerns. When asked if she learned anything from the retreat she said in quote, “I had no idea that black Americans were going through racism. In Africa, I am considered a rich black, but in America, black people are considered the poor and the ones in poverty. Clearly racism is only an issue in America.” She then went on to say, “There were alot of stories going around in the circle, people sharing their experiences of how they were chosen for jobs and schools over the phone or internet when applying, but as soon as they showed up for the interview, the interview was never conducted. Since being in America, I would like to say most of the blacks live in a lower income place, and even since I’ve moved to America because my dad is disabled and he wanted the best for us, we always lived in white neighborhoods and went to white schools. I still haven't experienced what blacks who were born in America have experienced. We need to make a change, one for the better!”

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