Sophomore Aidan Gibson provided a reflection on his experience, with fellow Crusaders, at the 15th annual Unity Through Understanding Day sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League at Loyola Law School New Orleans.
Unity Day began with a speaker from the State jurors program at which he talked about how Louisiana and Oregon are the only states where even if one jury seat says ‘guilty’, then that accused person is ‘guilty’. He also spoke about how this particular situation relates to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) program that we were about to embark upon with our groups. The one major point I took from his speech was that we need, especially for the younger generation, to fight for the same jury system that the other 48 states have, and that would make a big change in our judicial system. After the speech, we split up into groups and started out with an ice-breaker game, then delved deep into the words meaning courageous, which was my favorite part. After a quick break, we came back to learn about the ‘Pyramid of Hate.’ This was the most emotional part for me because it made me dive into the past to learn about why sometimes people ask about my little hand, how I should seek forgiveness from that person, and I learned what we should do in these type of situations.
After the group broke off, we ate pizza and got to meet some new people which was one of my favorite things because I made new friends, asked the fellow Brother Martin peers how their group was, and best of all interacted with new people, teachers, and the ADL representatives. After the good lunch, we took a group picture on the lawn and went back to the auditorium to hear from a very emotional speaker. Mrs. Anne, a survivor of the Holocaust, talked about her experience and how she survived. She began with introducing where she was from in Poland, and what it was like before Hitler and the Nazi’s. When she was young, she said that the Nazi’s came into her town, and she and her sister had to hide in chests and that her father had to go into Russia. After a year, they went to a farm where her father joined them and they went back to their hometown where they stayed in a house with other families. While her mother and father worked, she and her sister had to hide in their house from the Nazi’s. After, they went to a Catholic family’s home but were soon found out that they were Jewish and so they had to go live in a tiny bungalow where her father’s bosses helped them to survive. After all these traumatizing events, Mrs. Anne and her family moved to New Orleans, LA. The main message I took from this speech was to never give up on survival, and that you (I) can get through anything in life like Mrs. Anne and her family did.
This day was so inspirational to me because of hearing Mrs. Anne’s experience, learning how and why we do wrong things in life, the Pyramid of Hate, and especially why we should love and respect every human being. One word I would use to describe my experience is love. Love in the way of our lives, love ourselves, love our neighbors, and especially love the life we live. Overall, this experience was life-changing and one of the best conventions and days of my whole life. I’m so grateful that I got to represent Brother Martin, myself, and my community.
– Reflection by Aidan Gibson ‘20