I am finally at a point in life where I can say I have traveled the world.

(I honestly did not think that would happen this soon.)

And I promise y’all, it’s the most eye-opening experience you can have. There is so much outside the U.S. and you would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you do not experience it at some point before you get called to the “upper room.”

Abroad

Attending Class at University College London (UCL)

My school (Southern University Law Center) offers an opportunity after your 1L year to travel to London and learn/study laws abroad. I was hesitant at first but I am so glad I did not forgo the opportunity. We lived primarily in London, but were able to travel to other countries. We visited Amsterdam (as of now my favorite place in the world), Paris, Rome, and Barcelona. Each country was a melting pot of races, religions and cultures; some things familiar and some completely foreign. To be completely honest, the farther away from American influence the more I enjoyed it.

Abroad

Anyone who knows me knows I am infatuated with paintings, sculptures and architecture, so my jaw was on the floor a majority of the time I was overseas. I spent a day in the Louvre, which is the largest museum in the world for a reason, there were plenty of times I had to stop and rest my legs (other than smaller portions, Europeans are so small because they walk and bike EVERYWHERE). I have this unhealthy obsession with Dan Brown books so realizing that I was in two places his books were written about (The Vatican and The Louvre) had me feeling like a child visiting Disney World for the first time.

Abroad

There were so many moments where I had to put the camera down and just stand there and soak in the moment. And what amazing moments they were.

I was busy soaking up the sites and going to a different country almost every weekend, I forgot I was in Europe for more than traveling, I was there to study European laws and the way the implement “justice” the most foreign word as of lately to a Black in America.

Abroad

Royal Courts of Justice–Equal to an American District court

My eyes were opened to way more than differing accents. The American justice system could really use some work, but we already knew that. But just to prove my point let me run a few numbers and fun facts by you:

(1) Last year the U.S. had over 10,000 handgun related deaths. The U.K. (which by the way is composed of 4 countries for those that did not know that already–England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) only had 36.

(2) The Police force in the U.K. is unarmed, so guess how many officer related homicides against unarmed civilians have taken place there in the last year? That’s right pretty much none.

(3) The U.K. does not have the death penalty and their prison population is around 71,000. As you know the U.S. has the death penalty yet our prison population is over 2 million—so is the death penalty really a deterrent?

(4) HATE SPEECH IS ILLEGAL in the U.K. and from the surplus of Klan/white supremacy rallies the last 6 months with no arrests made, we know that’s not the case here.

Abroad

London Tower Bridge

I think y’all get the picture I am trying to paint. Basically in the U.K. you have a better chance of getting hit by one of those big double-decker red buses than being shot by anyone. So what is the problem? A lot blame the lack of education that our country faces. But what people fail to realize is that the public school system in the U.K. is actually horrible, therefore I don’t think lack of education is completely to blame. “Well the U.K. is not as developed as the U.S. is”……ummmmm, nah that’s actually completely wrong. It’s just as developed as the U.S. if not a little further advanced. “The U.K. is not as racially diverse” (since “people” love to blame races they fear for this countries problems”…again wrong because they U.K. is very racially diverse.

So what is the problem? Other than the geographical location and the dialect the U.S. is really not that different from the U.K. (and no the Queen really doesn’t run the country anymore. They have a balance of powers between the newly established [created in 2005 I believe] Supreme Court and the powers of Parliament. I’ll spare you the boring details), yet they do not have half of the issues we have and especially lately.

I don’t think there is one correct answer to the question I am posing honestly. There are so many factors that contribute to our issues. A big one is our–Americans–lack of “Philanthropy” and I don’t mean charities. I am referring to the literal meaning of the word “love of mankind.” One thing I did notice is how in tuned with each other most Europeans are. You won’t catch phones out at the dinner table. Their use of social media is nowhere near the amount Americans use it.

Outside of the rich history, the beautiful architecture and the amazing cultures, American’s can learn a thing or two about loving our fellow country men. Times of tragedy brings most countries together, it seems to draw more of a divide with ours…..

–Jo