Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eboo Patel @ Loyola

Eboo Patel came to Loyola to speak about his book “Acts of Faith” and to encourage the idea of pluralism. Patel focused mainly on his goal of making more Interfaith Youth Core members, as well as building more national community service. The speech was mainly about what it is to be an Interfaith Bridge-builder. Patel explained that you must have three different qualities to be a bridge-builder: perspective, knowledge-base, and skill set. The speech also focused on service as a whole, and the important of tolerance. In order to make this world a better place and in order to work together to help others, we must first learn to be with others who are different. We must all learn to have perspective and tolerate those who we cannot connect with or understand. Patel influenced all of us, as college students, to get involved and be more open-minded about other cultures and religions. We can all learn from one another if we work together to help serve others.
Eboo Patel’s life, as read about in “Acts of Faith,” can really relate to the various works that we read- “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes, “Queens, 1963” by Julia Alvarez, “this morning (for the girls of eastern high school)” by Lucille Clifton, and “Fork” by Jeffrey Harrison. In “Theme for English B,” an African American student feels as though she doesn’t belong because of her race, but realizes that she can learn from her white teacher, and that her teacher learns from her. Patel dealt with situations where he did not fit in as well, but when he began to make friends with those who were different, he realized that he was able to connect and learn so much more. This also relates to the character in “Queens, 1963.” A family moves to Queens and sees how different it is there and how many different people live in one community. However, at first, the family seems to struggle a lot with learning to live with those who are not like them.
In “this morning (for the girls of eastern high school) and “Fork,” we read about two different situations involving teachers and students. In the first, a student seems to have learned a lot about herself, she repeats a couple times- “I met myself.” In “Fork,” a student is angry with his teacher for ruining his education. The teacher doesn’t believe in her student, and for that, the student steals her fork. He travels with the fork and takes pictures of it with famous landmarks, then emails them to his teacher. Patel influenced us to learn more and to be open to new ideas. We should learn a lot from our teachers, and hopefully, they should learn from us as well. At college, we should take advantage of our classes, students, and teachers. We should use our college experience at Loyola to get involved and do service, in order to build relationships and love one another.

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