Broadening My Morality
The following is the first of five reflections on a service trip that members of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara YRUU group made to New Orleans, LA. The group spent three days in New Orleans and six on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, working with local organizations through the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal. The youth group's work focused on the issues of racism and privilege with an eye toward taking what they learned to foment positive change in their home community. This trip was made possible by the industrious fundraising of the youth group (who we are told sold lots and lots of quiche), YRUU families, and the Unitarian Universalist Association Katie Tyson Fund for Youth and Young Adult Ministries. - ed.by Miles Kretschmer
This trip has been an interesting one, filled with ethical turmoil and logical discussion to ease such turmoil. I’ve learned a lot about a lot I would never think of learning about. Mind clouded by anger and woe, it was hard to wrap my head around the topics at hand - but once my emotions mellowed I saw this trip as an amazing opportunity to widen my understanding of ethnic and racial issues, as well as broaden my own morality.
We were prompted to write about our experience in New Orleans: what we gave, what we brought back, and what we left behind. While most will focus on the physical footprint we left, our plan to devote hours of our days to weeding and hole-digging, I'd like to focus on the emotional aspects and the constant strife we all encountered and overcame.
The result of the trip was an enlightened mindset on life and reality; it also equipped us with the tools necessary to spread that same mindset. Through all the experiences we shared on this trip there was a common theme: awareness is key. If you don't understand an issue or point of inquiry, you will never be able to meaningfully make an impact on the issue. The goal of this trip for me was to become more aware of the societal flaws we as a community and country face on a regular basis. I believe I achieved my goal and moving forward I hope to spread the same awareness we spent those seven days achieving.