Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The article, “Serving up Hope” by Stephanie Shapiro is a simply written article that shows the reader how everyday people can affect change in the world around them. She visits Dogwood Deli in Hampden and tells the story of the couple that opened it as well their employees. The Deli, and in turn Shapiro’s article, is unique because of its focus on the employees. With a little help from the Baltimore Community Fellowship Program the Sampsons were able to open the restaurant of their dreams. Bridget and Galen Sampson are two people both passionate about social justice issues, who decided to incorporate that enthusiasm into their everyday lives. They work not only to serve delicious food but also to train and employee previous drug addicts and convicts.

In class we often discuss the Jesuit ideals, and all around campus students are visibly incorporating the Jesuit ideals into their everyday lives. Not all of those students plan on involving service or justice issues in their lives post graduation. Some would say that the time necessary to serve is a luxury that not everyone has. As Loyola’s graduates rush off after graduation, what percentage of them will be pursuing social justice oriented jobs? What percentage will be looking for whichever job will give them the highest paycheck? The Sampsons have defied this reality of adult life by working with the community around them. Despite Hampden’s nearness to Loyola and the number of students that travel down there, how many are aware of this restaurant’s background? Probably not too many.

Many organizations push students to explore worlds with which they are unfamiliar. Loyola chauffeurs students around Baltimore asking them to open their eyes to a different world. How often though are students asked to open their eyes to the world right under their noses? Though Loyola organizations work to integrate students into the community there is nonetheless a divide still felt by most students. If Loyola students were to work more to break down the barriers so close to us, our ventures farther away from the school would likely become more valuable. As we gain a greater comprehension of society it can only help us when we are faced with new conflicts and issues.

In Phillis Levin poem, “End of April”, he deals with the idea of love and the pain it can cause. Through the use of a metaphor, Levin compares an empty robin’s egg to the pain of a heart broken by love lost. By using images of blossoms and a robin’s egg, Levin originally gives the appearance that the poem will be a cheerful one. However, upon close examination one would see that the blossoms are fallen and the egg is broken. Though they are both things that can be beautiful and living, in her poem they are dead.

Baltimore is in many ways like the blossoms and the robin’s egg. Though Baltimore was once a lively city full of hope, it has quickly become forgotten by much of America and even those closest to it. Its potential though, is painful. Just as the speaker’s previous love and potential to love is causing him immense pain, Baltimore’s past and potential to thrive is causing its citizens pain.

People like the Sampsons have acknowledged Baltimore’s potential, and the potential of the individuals living here. They have internalized this information and actualized it through their restaurant. Loyola students are capable of this as well. By acknowledging the potential of the world around us, we are better able to affect change. Though Baltimore is still being “[torn] apart” by its past, there is no reason it can’t look towards its future.

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