Story of American Resilience Odyssey – Day 2

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Tuesday, May 2nd:

Meet with Mickey Melendez at People’s Church

Walk w/ Mickey to Museum of the City of New York

Lunch w/ Mickey at El Nuevo Caribeño

Fire Lotus Temple with Sensei Hojin Kimmel

Speeches in Prospect Park

Dinner and dance party with Taj Campman at Friends and Lovers

Why don’t people here smile more? It annoys me because they all look like depressed lil munchkins and I, for one, do not enjoy sitting with a load of depressed lil munchkins (on the subway)! – Oona

To be torn from the rural scape of Vermont; an incredible experience.. This big city is too grand for my small words. – Ezra P.

Mickey had a powerful energy. He radiated knowledge, passion, experience, and calm all at the same time. I don’t think I could be like that. 


Is not from birth


Is beyond appearances


Is breathing

Is resilience

Is peace during war. 

– Root

The part I liked the most about visiting Mickey Melendez was when he said that when we know our history, we know who we are and when we know who we are, we can’t be lied to. – Matrix

I was surprised with myself the when I asked Mickey a question but I’m really happy I did. – Ciana


We dividing

We surviving

We moving without notice

People crying

Loved ones dying

And instead of trying

We walk on alone.






The rainbow split

If we want to survive

To keep from dying

Then let’s stop dividing

We need to be one, together.

We are powerful.


And weak alone.

Let us not be split

Let us support each other

The power of unkind

People loom over


A big stone tower

But if all opt the oppressed

Are a stone, then

We just need to

Stack ourselves together

To form an empire 

Black, red, brown, white

And yellow, together

We create a shining


– Gwen

I had a great time with Hojin Sensei at Fire Lotus Temple. At the beginning of the paper exercise, I got a chill right before I started working with the paper. From then on, each time I searched for a place to fold, I moved the paper until I felt a small chill. Then, I’d fold it there. The whole experience was beautiful. 

My favorite part of the day by far was dancing at Friends and Lovers. I had no clue I was an ok dancer and it gave me so much confidence. – Ezra K.

I loved having a pizza party with Taj, Finn’s brother! I loved seeing Hilltop alums there because it brought me back to when I was in kindergarten, having some of them as my peace buddies. – Talia