Last night I arrived back home from my week long trip to New Orleans. My church (Unitarian Universalist) was having its big annual conference there, so my mom and I flew down and met a bunch of other people that we know from our local church. Sunday and Monday, my mom and I spent time exploring the city and going on some walking tours. It was seriously SO HOT and humid down there. We were both dripping with sweat every time we spent more than ten minutes outside. We went to the Garden District and the French Quarter, and of course, we had to get some beignets, which were delicious.
Tuesday and Wednesday my mom and I participated in an "Undoing Racism" workshop that was put on by The People's Institute. It was really interesting and I learned a lot about how our society perpetuates racial stereotypes and discrimination. I would highly recommend checking out their website if you are interested in this topic or attending a similar training.
Wednesday night, the rest of our church-goers arrive and General Assembly was officially in full swing. Over the next few days I attended a bunch of workshops about immigration law and how to organize to make our country a more welcoming place for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. I am planning on doing a separate post about everything that I learned during these sessions.
We were also able to do a bit more exploring in between workshops. My sister flew down Thursday night so it was fun to have her there too.
Saturday night, the Ware Lecture, which is the big keynote speech at General Assembly, was given by Bryan Stevenson, who I have talked a lot about because he wrote the amazing book "Just Mercy" and is my inspiration for wanting to go to law school in the future. He gave the most wonderful and moving speech I have ever heard. He spoke for an hour and thirteen minutes without stopping, and without even a speech written down on paper. Talk about impressive! I am not someone who cries in public, or at movies (I've seriously only cried while watching like two movies) and I was weeping throughout his entire speech. I was thrilled when he agreed to sign books after his speech and my copy of "Just Mercy" with his signature in it is now one of my most prized possessions.
New Orleans was a great trip and I'm so happy that I had the chance to attend General Assembly. I'm so proud to be part of a faith community that is centered around service, love, and activism. Check out all the cool buttons that I got:
I'm about to be THAT girl. With all the buttons on her backpack. But hey, I'm proud to be a social justice warrior!