Yesterday, I went to a speech that Prof Bruce Buchanan invited us to regarding the Innocence Project, which made such a huge impact on me. It was focused specifically on Darryl Howard, who was recently exonerated after serving 24 years for a wrongful murder conviction. It’s so scary what loopholes in legal systems and unethical prosecutors can do. How can there be so much evidence proving the innocence of Darryl Howard be ignored for the sake of advancing one’s career or for easy pinning, as he was black, poor and helpless? The systematic racism is so grotesque, disgusting, and yet, so real, with real consequences on a man’s life, and on so many others’ lives. It irks me so much the only person punished was him and his family, while the people behind the systems stay safe and out of reach. On the other hand, it’s awareness and projects like these that push for institutional reforms that gives me hope that the legal system is not a system biased for the rich and white, but a system that serves justice to those who deserve it.
On a similar thread, I met my favorite author, Jodi Picoult, at a ‘Big Ideas’ event that Penguin Random House held. I was so nervous, for I’ve never really met any of my idols up close before. Jodi discussed her newly released book “Small Great Things”, the inherent racism we all have, and the privilege we mostly fail to recognize when the color of our skin never posed problems in our lives. It’s thought-provoking, because we can never understand the struggles of dealing with racism if we’ve never been in their shoes. And as such, the conversations we should be having, is how to not be a part of the system that perpetuates racism, even implicit ones. Following that, I met her in person and got my book signed. I was trying so hard not to cry, omg. (I finished a glass of white wine the first time ever. Maybe I’m the emotional drunk type HA) I had never understood how people could burst into tears upon meeting their favorite celebrities, but now I do. The reason why it was so emotional for me was because I had basically read her books through some of my toughest times, and they provided me with a world of escapism, and at the same time helped me learn about subjects that really matter in today’s world. If I were to summarize her impact on me, it’s that she helped shape me into the person I am today. And for that, I’m grateful. It was an unforgettable night.
In other news, so much has happened in the past couple of weeks. I can’t believe it’s my second month at NYU already! So I got into the Journal of Politics and International Affairs, which I’m ecstatic about, because this year they only accepted I think four people and I’m one of the lucky ones. And speaking of that, I reaaaaally need to get on with writing my first article. I really think part of my procrastination has to do with my psychological need to be perfectionistic in completing tasks. The first community event TedxNYU held was also pretty successful. The donut project, Big Gay Ice-cream, Raindrop cake and Eggloo creators gave pretty good speeches considering the time constraints. I went to my first dance festival since I obtained discounted tickets from NYU grad department, and it was so diverse with Hindu and Taiwanese dances. Definitely gave me a little nostalgia and urge to go back to dancing. Mid-terms are also coming up next week, and I’m feeling a little stressed out because I really want to do well in my short stint at NYU. Jiayou, Lanxin.