Sunday, March 22, 2009

Communication is key in D.C.!

Hi from sunny D.C.!
It truly was quite warm today - I appreciate being able to soak up some rays on my spring break. Along with the sun, the attractions of Washington D.C., many of which offer stories - always history and sometimes visions for the future. I saw a lot of these during a "Civil Rights Scavenger Hunt"/walk around the city today. As I gathered from a few of the quotes that are carved into the granite tiles in "Freedom Plaza", the planners of our nation's capital believed that the city would reflect or live up to these ideals of our nation, "one day very soon."
Yet in this city of ideals, there are unmet needs on every street. This is not ideal. Not everyone in the U.S. is able to experience the "land of opportunity."
An engaging discussion tonight about the reasons why people have such different socio-ecomic experiences in the U.S. led to values. Specifically we talked about how societal values drive the perpetuation of the disparity. As members of our society, prominent values communicate something about our society as a whole. It seems some values tell the "have-nots," either directly or indirectly, "you are not." For example, you are not allowed to sit, not allowed to vote, not allowed to be listened to in a job interview, not allowed to enter, not allowed to have choices about the food you eat or the clothes you wear, not allowed to relax or laugh, not allowed to be like the rest of us.
Meanwhile, the voices of some people are quieted, or absent (again, not being able to vote, or not being taken seriously when asking for more affordable housing or healthcare).
I will enjoy experiencing up close the beauty of the ideals in the U.S. capital, while also examining whose values are reflected on the streets here, and what those values communicate.

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