Their Words: the URT

We just finished a full week of training for our 40 student leaders.  I am so glad to have them back around, and so annoyed to have simultaneously fought a head cold all week (gifted to me by on of those students).

My favorite piece of our training is the Urban Reality Tour, an experiential learning day we use to introduce students to various dynamics in our city that might not be apparent from within the Malibu bubble.

They travel in small groups, via public transit, to the downtown core, eat lunch at Grand Central Market, visit Skid Row and meet with a non-profit based in that community.  Along the way, they visit other regions of the city.  This year it was Hollywood.

The best part for me comes the next day, when we spend all afternoon discussing, writing , and creating art projects about the experience.  They blow me away.

This poem accompanies the piece above.

We act as though we have some sensitivity

an idea, and a picture of poverty

the truth is we all have something that we lack.

Love that line.

This piece articulated questions that the students ask and those asked by people experiencing homelessness.  The group intentionally made the text the same color to represent how the person asking the question is of equal value.  We ought not judge the one for being superficial any more than the other for being poor.

It had a great write up along with it, including this observation:

We realized we could be them while they could be us and that nothing divided us from them but the circumstances of our birth.

This came from a third group:

The group compiled their writing pieces into a word cloud to show how they experience similar themes in their individual experiences of the day.

Greg Boyle writes,

There is no us and them.  There’s only us. Them is an illusion.

As each group shared their art piece and accompanying write up, I realized they were closer to living this out than 48 hours earlier, and I was honored to be part of it.

One thought on “Their Words: the URT

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