Justice & Law
February 13, 2019 | My semester in Washington, D.C. is finally here! Considering I was born and raised in New Jersey, I have been extremely anxious and excited to get out of state for some time. Coming to the District of Colombia has been overwhelmingly full of ups, downs, and everything in between. I have been ready to embrace the culture, food, and even the lovely public transportation system. (The DMV metro systems and New Jersey Transit are much more different than what I expected!) And so my semester has officially begun…
D.C. is a great place to explore (and of course spend a lot of money) with its endless restaurants, nightlife, and museums. Unfortunately, due to the government’s partial federal shutdown, the Smithsonian museums were closed. Luckily enough, the government has been reopened for the next couple weeks so my excitement to explore the museums has intensified. Being of age is also great here because I am able to enjoy the D.C. nightlife. There is a plethora of things to do.
On Saturday, January 19th, 2019, the 2019 Women’s March took place in downtown D.C. around Freedom Plaza near the White House. It was incredible! I was in awe to experience such a great march for a great cause that I support. There were thousands of people from all ages and backgrounds there for the cause — and even the various protestors came out too. I’ve never gone to any type of major protest or rally before so this was most definitely an event that I will remember for a lifetime. The creativity behind every sign, poster, etc. was truly amazing. There were a handful of vendors selling merchandise and an endless amount of baby Trump balloons (a couple were released and the crowd went crazy with laughter and applause as we watched them float up in the sky — pretty epic to say the least).
Just some days before the Women’s March, on January 15th I celebrated the 111th Founders’ Day of my illustrious sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. I visited Howard University, the campus where we were founded, at midnight to bring in the day with singing and picture taking with other sorority sisters. I went back to the campus a second time that day, later on, for more pictures with my fellow Rider University chapter sisters who came to celebrate the day together. A current Howard University student provided us with an impromptu tour of the campus including prominent areas significant to our sorority members. This was a happy Founders’ Day indeed.
As I have seen at the Women’s March, D.C. is an important political landmark with many passionate people, including protesters. As I explored downtown D.C. my first weekend here, while participating in the scavenger hunt, I encountered a variety of protestors in front of the White House. Two of the ladies (holding the banner next to me) were eager to interact with the crowd of people and take pictures. Although I am neither in support of or in opposition to what they were advocating for, I still took advantage of the photo op. I will definitely be doing more touristy things all semester long!
On Tuesday, January 29th, I visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture for one of my seminar classes and it was truly incredible. The design of the museum is amazing with an overwhelming amount to see. I was there for about three and a half hours but I still need another trip to go through everything that I did not yet see. From sections about Divine Nine Greek organizations (shoutout to my sorority), Oprah Winfrey, Emmett Till, segregation, slavery, and movements like Black Lives Matter, the museum has a vast range of what really makes up black history and culture. It was also heartwarming to be greeted by the director of the museum along with the press getting in on the action of their first visitors following the government reopening.
Although it has only been a few weeks, I’ve seen so much. It is still early in the semester and there is still so much left in store. I will be interning with a non-profit organization focused on providing reentry services to people released from and affected by incarceration and attending my Washington Semester Program seminars related to my Justice and Law concentration. I am excited yet nervous for everything else still to come! The journey has just begun!