American Place Blog

Jasmine Cardi

“We the People”…such popular and powerful words. Not only is this phrase the first 3 words in the Constitution, it also hangs in the American Place at our library. There are glass panels that hang in front of the windows to reflect these very words onto the ground once the sun shines through. For months I have been curious to see if it would actually work. Finally this Monday I was able to see the glass panels in action! Today I was reminded of this very phrase this morning as one of our ESL students fainted in class. Her classmates were so worried about her even though they could barely communicate in the same language. This poor woman who had a bad reaction to her medication had no one we could call to accompany her to the hospital. One of our interns volunteered to go with her to the hospital and stayed with her until she was stable and comfortable. Many different people united for the same outcome-this woman’s immediate well being. The woman who fainted is from Morocco, the man who helped her and waited with her until the ambulance came is from Ecuador, the intern who went to the hospital with her is from Nepal, our program director who helped the rest of the class remain calm is from Iran, and today’s ESL class is made up of people from over 21 countries. “‘We the People” could not fit more appropriately. Kindness and concern are universal emotions that transcend a language barrier. In this case, “We the People” stick together.

ESOL Class
Jasmine Cardi

Today I was thinking about technology. It is something that dominates most of our lives these days. Phones, computers, ereaders, game consoles-the list is endless. What is most interesting that our time is spent playing virtual farm games with someone on the other side of the world, reading about the lives of others on facebook and checking our email. I am starting to wonder if the art of communication will someday be primarily virtual. How many times are you somewhere with other people and not even a Hello is exchanged and everyone is on their various devices? During the last portion of todays ESOL class the students were using our computers to work on their reading. It was refreshing to speak with these students and show them how to use the computer. In such a technological age they are still not dependent on technology. The art of communication is still visible even though not all of the students can speak English well and all are from different countries.  

Jasmine Cardi
My coworker and Dr. Bernard LaFayette

About a week or so ago I had an afternoon meeting with 3 citizenship students. Our plan was to go over some self study materials they could use to supplement their weekly classes. During this time there was a program going on close to my department on nonviolence and high school students. It was their graduation and one of the guest speakers was Dr. Bernard LaFayette. One of my coworkers calls me and says “Jasmine, you have to come and see this man. He knew Martin Luther King Jr!” So I tell my citizenship students we are going to take a little detour and stop in the next room. We were able to hear some of his speech. The students were amazed that they were seeing someone who knew Martin Luther King Jr, was beaten and arrested 27 times for his participation in civil rights activities and who still today in his 70′s travels promoting nonviolence. What started out as an appointment to check out books and learn about computer software turned into an impromptu history lesson live in the flesh! It was such a remarkable experience for me and the students!

Freedom Tower

Reflection Pool


Jasmine Cardi

Welcome to my blog! Here I will share some of the amazing experiences I have at my job as an Outreach Assistant at The American Place at The Hartford Public Library. To start I will share some photos from our ESOL & Citizenship class trip to the 9/11 memorial . Attendees of this trip include students from many countries such as Dominican Republic, Iraq, Russia, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam and Haiti. One of the most memorable things on this trip was the significance of this group of people together and this memorial. 9/11 made American’s more concerned with safety and also may have given certain groups of people a bad rap. Each of these students understood the effect 9/11 had on America and some have had personal effects. It was amazing to see such a diverse group of people together as one. The memorial is still under construction. We were able to walk around the 2 reflection pools. They were utterly amazing. The sound generated by the 2 reflection pools is so great that it’s the main thing you hear even though there is construction all around.

ESOL/Citizenship Students