Brendan Cassamajor ’21

My journey in this class ties into the notion that “everything happens for a reason”. It was not on my schedule when I initially stepped on campus, and it wasn’t until a week in that I finally joined, and I am extremely happy that I did.   

I can confidently say that this class has been one of the most unique and informative classes that I’ve taken my whole life. In the first trimester, I began to look into slavery in Haiti and how it relates to Connecticut. While I found it interesting, ultimately, it wasn’t the right topic for me. Coming into the second trimester, I decided to switch gears and take a look at the James Mars story. Immediately, I felt a change to my drive to work and my will to learn. I found it amazing how we were studying a history that has practically been relatively untouched for years on end. The opportunity to be one of the few to take a deep look at this history and give it the respect it deserves, excited me.   

Over the course of the winter, some of my classmates and I have been constantly sharing the information we have learned with people across Connecticut, but we are not stopping there. We are creating the first Wikipedia page for James Mars and an interactive timeline. Most importantly, we are planning a “James Mars Day” on May 1 to honor his life and contributions with a Witness Stone. This makes up for a very exciting third trimester that I am looking forward to.  

To tie back to my starting statement of “everything happens for a reason” I believe it was meant for me to be in this class. At the beginning of the school year, as a school, we spoke about “windows” and “mirrors”. A “window” is a story or circumstance that does not relate to you but that you can understand regardless. A “mirror” is a story that you understand and that can relate to you to an extent as well. Up until this point, most of my experiences in school have served as “windows” up until this class. This is the first class that has served as a “mirror” for me because, although my difficulties aren’t as extreme, I can relate to some of the hardships the enslaved faced with being black in America. These stories also help define what it means to be black in America as well. This class has been the first to serve as a “mirror” for me and I find that amazing.

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