This year, I worked at Tsejin Bhotia’s booth for Around the World Day. Tsejin is Tibetan-American and is incredibly passionate about her culture and Tibet’s liberation from China’s oppressive rule and invasion. She works with Students for a Free Tibet, and the entire event Around the World Day was centered around raising awareness and money for the organization. At her booth, I helped sell merchandise from the organization, and I also asked students and faculty to sign petitions to free Tibetan political prisoners who have been wrongly abducted or imprisoned by the Chinese government. I have always been aware of the situation in Tibet, and working at the booth was a good way for me to gauge how much and how little I know about what is going on right now. Some students had no idea why Students for a Free Tibet even exists, and I explained that Tibet has been struggling for its liberation since the mid-Twentieth Century. However, hearing Tsejin talk about the situation I realized how little I really know about the history of the struggle. She explained that in relation to other oppressed countries, Tibet is more oppressed than North Korea. However, China tries its hardest to give off the impression that Tibet is part of China and that nothing wrong is going on in the region. In reality, China is trying to erase Tibetan culture, and will imprison anyone who advocates for the country. I want to help spread awareness about this issue that has been largely ignored by the international community and is not talked about enough in conversations about international human rights. Overall, the experience was very positive and it was wonderful to see so many students and faculty asking questions and wanting to learn more about Tibet.
On April 19th I decided to come into school on a Saturday to help out with the Friends big FAT service day. Immediately I found my self working with others in maintaining the tolerance garden in Stuyvesant park. First we weeded the plants and picked up any little pieces of trash we found, and then we added mulch to the soil to help the flowers grow. After a couple long hard hours working we were all treated to lunch by the school, and afterwards I spent some time decorating cards for Birthday in a box.
It made me incredibly happy to help make a small part of our city even more beautiful by helping maintain the flowers in Stuyvesant park. It was also quite satisfying to help make a few children’s birthdays slightly happier even if they are less fortunate than I am.