What diverCITY! (D.C. Day 2)
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
Our second day began with a trek to local coffee shop Busboys and Poets, which was deemed a greater task than originally thought to be due to navigation complications, however, once we got on the right path it was all smooth sailing- err- smooth walking from there on and so forth. Breakfast was phenomenal; the eggs were fluffy, the bread was toasted to perfection, and the potatoes were seasoned just right. The breakfast joint itself was a splendid combination of cozy and pleasing to the eye seeing as every wall was proudly presenting pieces made by youth and local photographers. The diversity in staff was also comforting to our club members due to the fact that we are a group of ethnically and racially diverse individuals ourselves that, when it comes to rural south Florida, see lots of self-segregation not only in neighborhoods, but in restaurants and public places as well. Seeing people of different backgrounds working together outside of a classroom environment was almost like a parallel to our future selves and a nice way to open our eyes to the great big colorful world outside of our small town, and maybe even a start to bringing in some of that less-separate-but-more-equal energy back home.
After breakfast, we took a bus to the Holocaust Memorial Museum where we passed the Washington Monument and the African American History Museum- one of our next stops for later in the day. Once inside, the group decided to split up into smaller duos and trios in order to explore and tour the exhibits. Some members began in the children's exhibit to work their way into the permanent exhibition, while others went straight for the main event. No matter how we decided to tour, we all came back with a greater understanding of the Holocaust, and a deeper emotional connection to the thousands of innocent lives lost. That day we left with two important pieces of knowledge that will not go unheard: "What you do matters", and "Never again".
Last, but definitely not least, we headed to the African American History Museum after having a quick lunch and debrief by the National Mall. Once again upon arrival we split up into our prior groups and decided to explore the museum how we saw fit. My group began at the lowermost floor and made our way up, taking a time travel through the Atlantic Slave Trade, Jim Crow era segregation in the United States, the Civil Rights movement, all the way up to Barrack Obama's presidency. Taking our time we read every post and every quote in order to grasp as much information as we possibly could, and even referenced some bits from our AP World History class, such as how the Columbian Exchange led to said Atlantic Slave Trade, and how sugar production was also a cause for increased slave importation into tropical areas. Other groups began with exhibitions depicting African American culture in the U.S. which presented everything from hair styles, to the significance of hip-hop and reggae, to the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Because almost everyone in our club has a culturally diverse background, (as mentioned before) everything we saw spoke to us on a personal level.
"I really wish at our school that they had a class based around the history of African Americans", and "The fact that what they have there is stuff that you don't learn in school." said one member of our club, who is Afro-Latina herself. Personally, I ,as well as most others, believe that the museum was not only a great message for people of color and diverse backgrounds to continue working towards a better future for our country, but also an amazing way to educate those with more privileged backgrounds and rid the world of racial ignorance one step at a time.