Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day Three: Athens

So we actually rolled into Athens the night before Wednesday just in time for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Georgia, the Grit! Mmmm...stuffed peppers and gravy with a side of succotash!

We were lucky to have several local folks that were down to put us up for the night, thank you Allie McCullen and Laura Estrada for being such gracious host:)
......although Mike was stalked and attacked by a cat who went by the name of Falcor, he's still recovering for the trauma.

Wednesday presented all of us on the tour an opportunity to have half a day to chill, take care of personal stuff, catch up on emails, and check out Athens. John got to catch up with sleep, Tameka got some studying in, Mike caught up with school work, Paul did some work work, and I got to check out the best comic shop in Georgia(that's right, Athens has the best restaurant and the best comic shop), Bizarro.

We also received some pretty troubling news. The Board of Regents decided to check the immigration status of all college students in the Georgia college system. Undocumented student already have to pay out of state tuition and have difficulty receiving. The move by the BOR will not only mean an end of higher education for thousands of youth in Georgia, it will also add another layer of bureaucracy to the school system that will cost tens of thousands of dollars to implement. It's a move by the BOR that appears to be purely punitive and racist in nature.

When it was time for us to head over to the miller learning center at GSU and set up we noticed a ton of buzz in the area. Apparently Ludacris had been hired to headline a concert for homecoming week. His sound check could be heard all over campus.

Turn out to our Athens stop was not our biggest crowd but it was a spirited one. There was no extra credit provided for attendence so we got only the most committed folks, folks that were for the most part actively engaged in campaigns on campus. Students fighting against education budget cuts, poverty, gender inequities, racial inequities, and more. The event actually ran longer then any of the other cities so far.

After the event Allie and Mitch Roper took us out for Jamaican food. Toward the end of our meal we somehow ended up going around the table sharing our stories of how we each have felt called speak out against oppression and exploitation in our perspective communities. What was it that opened our eyes to problems in our neighborhoods, in our world, and what are we doing about it.

Here's some footage of Mike Scott talking about his artistic process:

After dinner we said our goodbyes and hit the road to Milledgeville. When we pulled into Paul Place, which is part of the GCSU student housing(where Paul is on staff), GCSU student flocked around Paul with warm greetings for him, which thankfully extended to us as well!

Photos by,
John Reynolds

Tim Franzen
American Friends Service Committee

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