Reflections on Social Justice in D.C.

Every year, the sixth grade travels to Washington D.C., visiting museums and monuments, building confidence and camaraderie, and opening their minds to new experiences along the way.
Many of the visits touch upon themes of social justice. When students returned to CEE last year, they responded to the following prompt. Here are some of their reflections.

What did your Washington D.C. field trip teach you about both the history of oppression in America and throughout the world, but also the history of people resisting oppression?

"Over four days we experienced many national monuments, museums, and even saw a play at the Kennedy Center. Though we had a lot of fun during our trip to D.C., we also learned that many different groups of people have experienced oppression in our country and throughout the world. But we learned how people rose up against oppression and resisted it. Oppression is when the government or people in power treat a group of people in an unjust and cruel manner."

"At the African-American Museum of History and Culture, we learned that African Americans experienced oppression through the slave trade and slavery. However, many brave people (like Harriet Tubman) used the Underground Railroad to resist slavery and escape to freedom. We also learned that Jim Crow laws established segregation throughout the South. However, Americans of all backgrounds resisted these unjust laws during the Civil Rights Movement. This is when people engaged in peaceful protests and boycotts meant to end the unjust treatment of African-Americans. It is important to know that the Civil Rights Movement is still going on today."

"Our visit to the Holocaust Museum taught us the history of Jewish oppression. One of the highlights was learning about the Holocaust from an actual survivor. She escaped Nazi occupation during World War 2 by traveling to England on the Kindertransport. The Kindertransport is when foster families in England lovingly accepted Jewish children into their homes, so they could escape Germany. Also many European Jews joined the secret resistance army and helped Allied forces to win the war. We must remember the Holocaust so that such a grave injustice will never happen again."

"On our final day we visited the National Museum of the American Indian. We saw many examples of Native Americans’ vibrant culture. We also learned that Native Americans experienced oppression when they were forced to leave their homes and live on reservations. This was enacted through an actual law: the Indian Removal Act. However, many Native Americans fought against oppression and some even took up arms to fight for their rights: like in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Today, Native Americans are working to eliminate the misuse of their image on consumer products and logos for sports teams."