Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rich Cultural Community in SJP

By Allyson Chavez (Brooklyn, NY)

When I first arrived to SJP, I did not know what to expect. I knew to expect a rigid schedule but I did not expect to be surrounded by so many different cultures. SJP is very rich in culture but also very rich in acceptance. Looking around the newsroom, one can see that many states and countries are represented. The most beautiful part is the fact that every one here is truly interested in learning about every single culture that is represented here. My friends Shemaiah and Mofida and the lovely counselor Asmaa gave me an insight into their religion, Islam.

During SJP, they were fasting because they were observing Ramadan. While everyone else was eating, they would maintain commitment to their religion. Their steadfastness was truly beautiful to me and it showed me how tenacious some people are to things that are important to their lives. One night I asked Shemaiah and Mofida the significance behind wearing a hijab. Their response was that their hair represented their beauty and a man should fall in love with their personality first and then after marriage he would have the privilege of perceiving their true beauty. That really touched me and I thought it was a beautiful reason. SJP has exposed me to so many cultures!

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