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We Breathe Fire

By Emma Kelly

“Some women fear the fire, some women simply become it…” – R.H. Sin

The 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. was the largest demonstration in U.S. history. As unfathomable as it sounds, more than 4 million people marched across the country, according to the Washington Post. This didn’t include sister marches all over the world.

Of the many destinations to choose, I opted to experience this year’s march at the White House. The manor – created as a home for the first citizen of the United States – seemed to be the best place to experience the thoughts and feelings of other U.S. citizens. The Metro was packed with protestors covered in glitter and pink knitted beanie hats with ears, all relishing in the fact that on this day they can openly voice their disapproval of the treatment of women.

Among the myriad of hot pink, deep red, bright yellow and green signs, were women and men, many of whom protested the 45th President of the United States and the current political climate. Signs of protest, objection, disapproval and declaration – on top of what is the norm in Washington, D.C. these days – took up the space above heads of dyed pink and purple hair.

Surrounded by incredible, capable, intelligent women all with the same goal – to reach equality – was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I realized that we are all the same; we all have wants and needs, and when we work together we can make an impact.

“When women support each other, incredible things happen.”

As I wandered over to the Lincoln Memorial, men and women swarmed the streets, all gracious and trying their best to avoid running into others. There is a reason why they call it a march, not a protest. People voiced their opinions everywhere – with signs, shirts, with laugher filling the air, with words to the officials hiding in the buildings around us. There were no opposing sides against the countless people, they were just one group with a fire in their hearts, rallying against the political cancer that has taken over the county.  

The tension was palpable, the excitement of the promises to come, the strength in the unity, the happiness of the freedom of expression – together creating what I can only call the feeling of tranquility in the eye of a hurricane.

“We are the granddaughters of witches you weren’t able to burn.” – Tish Thawer

It didn’t matter about tomorrow, or about yesterday; it was all about now and using the advantage of the combined voice of the marchers. Hopefully our reach made it around the world, and judging by the response demonstrators have received, it did.

“As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.” There is no doubt that after this day, the women of the United States breathe nothing but fire.

“I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” – Wonder Woman

Top 5 Favorite Healthy Foods in DC

By Arielle Berger

Hi. My name is Arielle and I am no stranger to food.

I love to try new foods and seek out places to eat that are off the beaten path. I grew up eating primarily organic food with a salad at every home cooked meal, so I have a good sense of what is healthy and what is not. Growing up, I thought it was annoying that my parents made me eat my veggies while my friends would eat pizza and takeout. But now that I am older, I appreciate that I grew up eating healthy foods, subconsciously learning the foods that are healthiest for me.

When I first got to Washington, D.C. this semester, I knew I would be in for a treat. The city is a hub for food. From bottomless brunch buffets to happy hour food deals and everything in between, D.C. does not disappoint. I made it my mission to find some of the best local restaurants.

Now, here is the thing: I am gluten intolerant. Yup, there is the eye roll. But seriously, I am. Gluten tends to inflame my throat causing strep throat seven out of ten times, and that is no fun for anyone. So I want to take you on a journey of some of my favorite ‘healthy’ foods of D.C. Safe for gluten-free folks like me, but with gluten filled options as well.

1. Buredo

Pronouced bur-EE-dough. Clever, right? Buredo combines two of my favorite foods, sushi and burritos. You can find this sushirito restaurant in downtown D.C. (conveniently located next to my work office). The menu consists of 11 sushiritos that are made fresh to order. It is pretty easy to edit the ingredients just to your liking.

Some popular items include spicy tuna tartare (pictured to the right), avocado, cucumber, tuna sashimi, tempura crunch and edamame.. I ordered the Gogo but substituted the coconut crema for the siracha mayo.

If you are a fan of following the trends and ordering very Instagramable foods, and you are NOT allergic to any sort of seafood, then Buredo is the spot for you. You can check out there very aesthetically pleasing website here!

 

2. The Little Beet

The Little Beet, it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

There are a surprising amount of Chipotle-esque, make-to-your-liking, type restaurants here in D.C. The Little Beet is one of them, but better and healthier! This farm fresh restaurant (no 

surprise there, just look at the name) changes their food based on seasons to guarantee the freshest, in season items. The Little Beet gets all their food from “the best farmers and vendors in all the land” (according to their eye catching, all natural website).  And ALL of their menu items are gluten-free WOO-HOO.

I will admit that I was a little overwhelmed when I first got to the counter – there were just so many yummy food options that I could not decide what to get. Take a peek at their seasonal menu and you’ll understand what I mean. I settled on the grain/salad blend with white beans, roasted kale, beet falafel, avocado white bean spread, and pickled ginger. Take a peek at that masterpiece.

3. Chaia

I am a taco junky and finding 

this little gem was a blessing and a curse (on my wallet).  I stumbled across Chaia when I googled “must eat places in D.C”. Chaia is located in Georgetown, so it is a little bit of a trek to get there. Luckily, I was already in Georgetown doing my second favorite thing (shopping), and after a few hours, it was taco time.

Chaia is located one block off the main road in Georgetown, across a small bridge. After crossing the bridge you will first see the back of the restaurant, in all its green vine covered glory. After you walk through a cute little park, with tables to eat at, you will see the doors leading to taco heaven.

The restaurant is cute and quaint and just feels like a nice place to hang out in. They have orange infused water and servers who 

are always smiling. Their menu is simple and to the point, so as a very indecisive person, I was thankful for that. 

There were five different types of tacos when I went. I ended up deciding on the mushroom, Moroccan carrot and, my favorite, the creamy kale and 

potato taco. My friend got the roasted beet and absolutely loved it. Each one had the most distinct flavors. I ended up eating my tacos so fast that I contemplated getting a second round because they were that good.

Check out their unique taco flavors here and see you if you can recreate them at home. And if you do, let me know!

4. Fruitive

I’ve said Fruitive wrong the entire time that I was in D.C. I always called it fruit-iv, but apparently it is pronounced fru-I-tive (adj.) meaning enjoyment. Anywho, it’s fabulous. They have everything from salads and sandwiches to gluten-free waffles, smoothies and lettuce wrapped TACOS. Back at it with the tacos.

It is located right in D.C.’s City Center making this place a must. Everything on this menu is healthy. There is kale, spinach, quinoa, and flax just to name a few things. If the healthy way is a stay off the path for you, I promise you will like this place. They still have waffles (gluten-free) but they come with coconut whipped cream and maple syrup, so the sweet tooth lovers are in luck.

But as you know from the post above, I love tacos, so naturally I had to get their collard tacos. There are three kinds and thankfully I was able to get all three. Each comes in a lettuce wrap so they are extremely messy, but totally worth it. I got the Sesame Ginger Taco (which was the best), the Southwest Taco and the Tuscan Taco. Again, each was uniquely perfect.

My non gluten-free roomie got the Avo Portobello Panini and devoured it in about 6 bites. I think she enjoyed it. I have also tried the Hail to the Kale salad and Coconut Colada and have been very pleased. Needless to say, I have spent my fair share at Fruitive.  Health nut or sweet tooth, check out their menu.

5. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

So I said healthy, right? Well I’m going to stay off the path, A LOT, like total gluten, a lot. This is a D.C. hot spot and listed on the “21 best donut shops in America” list by Thrillist. This shop specializes in their crème brulee doughnut as it was named “the city’s best doughnut”. So for these reasons, I am adding it to my list. Yes I ate it all and yes, my tonsils swelled up and I got stick. But yes, it was worth it. Besides their doughnuts, Astro is known for their fried chicken doughnut sandwich.

*Peep the pic*

This sandwich was one of a kind, with a warm piece of fried chicken, tomatoes, sriracha buffalo sauce, and pickled jalapenos, it was definitely different, but a good different.

The line is typically out the door with not just tourist but actual working D.C’ers, so you know this place is a must.

How to Entertain Yourself When You Have Free Time at Work

By Nora Scally

Update your LinkedIn

I’ve become a master at making sure my LinkedIn profile is up to date and looking like a business professional. Browse through your photos and find the perfect headshot, write descriptions for all the jobs you’ve worked, and make sure you sound like a professional.

Apply for Jobs/Internships

On many job board websites such as Indeed and LinkedIn, there are posting for Summer 2018 internships. I’ve already applied to 15 different internships in the San Francisco Bay Area for June. This honestly is a useful way to use empty time and can really help you prepare for the future. If you’re looking for an adult job after graduation, you can definitely make strides in landing that by applying during the work day.

Start that Term Paper

If you’re like me, then you’ve been assigned an 8-page research paper narrative due in January. When I have time to kill, I try to map out what I need to include in my paper, what I should be researching, and trying to schedule any necessary interviews. It really makes the time go by, and it makes the workload much easier in the end. Even just drafting a few things pays off.

Look at Memes

This is more fun than any of the other things I’ve suggested. Just go on the internet and laugh at weird millennial humor.

I hope this makes your work day go a little bit faster!

Metro Story

By Marc-Yves Regis II

When I found out that I would have to ride the metro into work, I was ecstatic. I had an overly romanticized view of what the ride would be like; I pictured myself holding a warm cup of coffee in one hand, with a crisp copy of The Washington Post in the other. I saw myself being therapeutically rocked by the train and allowing myself to briefly unwind before starting the daily grind. However, I was in for a rude awakening.

The first problem I discovered with the metro was the smell. Woodley Park, in my opinion, is the worst-smelling metro stop in the District. The stench from the nearby crawfish place and the McDonald’s, create a foul smell that is eerily similar to a male locker room after a gym class. On particularly humid days, the wafting smell is pungent and overwhelming, filling my nostrils as I begin my descent.

Getting on the metro itself is another unexpected struggle.  Anyone who rides the red line during their morning commute knows that space is at a premium. There are mornings when I have to force my way into a metro car because I fear that the sliding doors will abruptly close with my arm dangling in them. Once I’m on, I have to stay completely still. Any sort of movement could lead to disaster.  I once tried scratching the back of my head and accidently delivered a sharp elbow to a poor woman’s nose.

In spite of all this, I do love the convenience of riding the metro. In Connecticut, it is impossible to get around without a car. There is public transportation, but it’s not dependable or convenient at all. I do not enjoy driving, so the metro is a godsend for me. I’d rather endure the stench for the rest of my life rather than drive a car on busy streets and sit in traffic for hours. Besides, riding the metro is not all that bad. I may not be able to read the Post, but my neighbors’ texts provide just as much entertainment.

The Can’t Miss Holiday Celebrations in DC

By Caitlin Cryan

The fall class at WMI has the unique experience of watching the seasons change from the hot summer to the leaves changing in fall, and finally into the cooler winter. The transitional period of November into December is always a magical time, but experiencing it in the city makes it extra special. Slowly, you start to notice lights, wreaths, trees, and other decorations going up to celebrate the season. So even though the final few weeks we have in DC will be very busy, be sure to make some time for some holiday festivities only DC can offer.

Here are the top five free things to do as the weather get cooler and the District gets jollier.

1. National Christmas Tree

The 95-year-old tradition of the National Christmas Tree lighting is broadcasted nationwide on the Hallmark Channel, but why watch it on TV when you can visit it in person? The 2017 lighting is on November 30th; beginning December 1st the tree is available to visit for free all Christmas season – there are even free musical performances to really put you in the holiday spirit.

2. Zoo Lights

Beginning on Thanksgiving night, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will light up the night. Zoo Lights is open until 9pm each night until New Year’s Eve. Walk through a magical display of color, music, and lights while enjoying a warm cup of hot chocolate – who doesn’t love a panda made of christmas lights?

3. Seasons’ Greenings & holiday music at the Botanic Garden

The United States Botanic Garden is always a warm oasis when the temperature outside begins to drop, but beginning on Thanksgiving, the garden gets decked out for the holidays. This year’s display is extra special- celebrating 100 years of the National Parks Service. Lights adorn the trees and a train visits recreations of national park sites made out of plants!

4. Seasonal events at The Wharf

December 1st and 2nd are the days to celebrate at The Wharf, DC’s newest destination. The two day celebration kicks off with Light Up The Wharf Christmas Tree lighting, complete with hot chocolate, s’mores, crafts, music, decorations and more. The celebration continues the next day with the Holiday Boat parade. Watch from the pier as boats float by decorated in bright lights. Stick around for food and ice skating!

5. Georgetown GLOW

From December 8th – January 7th, Georgetown’s nights will be a little brighter. From 5pm-10pm art installations will illuminate DC’s oldest neighborhood. Interactive light displays will make the perfect background for #insta-worthy photos.

The Dupont Underground

By Bobby Gehlen

The dark and mysterious tunnels under Dupont Circle had remained abandoned for over 40 years.  The thoughts of how to repurpose the crumbling trolley car passage from the 1940s are bizarre to say the least.  Proposed ideas ranged from a place to store the ashes of the deceased, to a children’s playground in the late 1960s, to a fallout shelter during the Cold War.  A food court was established in the 1990s but the idea failed soon after its completion and remnants of the restaurants remain to this day.  Despite this short lived idea, the passageways had remained uninhabited for almost half a century.

As a regular bystander not taught what to look for, one might mistake the entrance to the Dupont Underground as an unassuming maintenance tunnel.  At another glance, the red walls adorning the exterior staircase and intricate murals lining the walk down show that this is much more unique than a regular metro entrance. The 75,000 square feet of space, separate from the D.C. metro, span across two stations and a series of tunnels running north and south.

The Dupont Underground was the only proposed idea that was able to last in the abandoned passageways.  It was established in 2005 and their goal is to… “Transform a public work – the subterranean streetcar station in Dupont Circle – into a new public infrastructure to support creative exchange, contemporary arts practice, and an ongoing conversation about the city.”

Today, the Dupont Underground features theatre performances, art galleries, concerts, spoken word poetry, educational talks, and many other forms of artistic expression.  Their objective has transformed into encouraging the public to, “push disciplinary boundaries and reflect the diversity of our communities.”  

From what was once just an idea to bring artists together has now transformed into a cultural epicenter for all forms of creative expression to be represented in the D.C. area.  The not-for-profit venue offers multiple exhibitions each month in an exchange for a “ticketed donation.” Information about scheduled visits or the organization itself can be found at www.dupontunderground.org.  

The top 20 things 20somethings should do in DC this fall

By Holly Cameron

Fall is one of my top four favorite seasons. Between the crisp leaves, the warm drinks, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, it’s a magical time of year that so many busy young adults take for granted. Therefore, in honor of this being my first fall in the hustle and bustle area of Washington, DC, I formed a list of the top 20 things every 20something in DC should do this fall.

1. Check out Pub Dread

The creators of the notorious DC Game of Thrones bar are back and this time with a little more spook. According to their website, “winter has come and gone for Drink Company, and we’re ready to celebrate fall and fright in Pub Dread.” This Haunted bar will only open for October at 1839 7th St NW Washington, DC 20001.

2. Go to an apple orchard

Something I noticed when I first started researching what to do in DC is that amount of apple orchards in this area! Whether it’s with the girls for a photo-shoot or a day date with your partner, apple orchards are an easy option for a fun fall Sunday.  

3. Bake some Pillsbury’s seasonal sugar cookies

No explanation needed! These guys are so yummy, and any excuse to bake cookies is a good one. They can be found at almost every local grocery store.

4. Go watch a Redskins game

Fall and football go hand and hand. Therefore, in honor of being in Washington, DC, go to a local sports bar one Sunday afternoon and cheer on the Washington Redskins. Even if they’re not your home team, so many fans will surround you that it won’t be hard to pretend.

5. Get down at the Murder House Party! (A Renwick Gallery Opening)

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is opening a thrilling new exhibit titled Murder is her Hobby by Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. The exhibitexplores the surprising intersection between craft and forensic science. It also tells the story of how a woman co-opted traditionally feminine crafts to advance the male-dominated field of police investigation and to establish herself as one of its leading voices”. The Museum will celebrate this opening on Friday, October 20th with a party that includes House music, specialty drinks, and more.

6. Race to see the 17th Street High Heel Race

According to the event’s Facebook page, “the High Heel Race is one of Washington, DC most unique events with a rich history of ‘Crossing The Line Since 1986.’ On the Tuesday before Halloween, hundreds of costumed drag queens show off their extravagant outfits and race down Historic 17th Street, NW.” The race will be taking place on the 24th at 9pm.

7. Treat yourself to some fall comfort food

Indulge yourself in a fall themed cheat day. Start the day off with a pumpkin spiced latte and an apple scone. For lunch and dinner, eat warm dishes such as turkey chili or pumpkin ravioli. End the day with some Halloween candy.

8. Spend your Hallo-Friday at Night of the Living Zoo

On Friday, October 27th from 6:30pm to 10:00pm the Smithsonian National Zoo will be hosting a party so grand it might haunt you to miss it. According to their website you will, “witness death-defying acts and amazing oddities at Friends of the National Zoo’s annual adults-only Halloween party… Ghouls and goblins will enjoy craft beer, fare from popular D.C. food trucks, a spooktacular costume contest, and performance artists while dancing to music at the DJ dance party.”

9. Spend your Hallo-Saturday at Nightmare on M Street

Saturday, October 28th hosts the 19th Annual M Street Bar Crawl. “On Saturday, October 28th, DuPont Circle is coming alive and transforming from trendy to terrifying! Lindy Promotions, the ghostess with the mostest offers all the Halloween Crawlers:  cover-free admission, top drink specials, costume contests, fun prizes.” Registration for this events starts at 2 and goes until 6.

10. Host a fall themed movie marathon

Invite your friends over and host an evening strictly dedicated to your favorite fall movies. This can be anything from Dead Poets Society to a horror film marathon. Simply something that puts you in a “fall-like” mood. Pair it with some kettle corn and apple cider and it’s guaranteed to be a hit.

11. Have a drink (or more) at the DC Beer Festival

On November 4th, the Nationals ballpark will be home to a major brew fest. According to the beer festival’s website, the event will “bring together dozens of craft breweries that will feature fall seasonal beers, plus food trucks, lawn games, DJs, and more.” There will be 200 beers to try, and even if you don’t plan on drinking too much, it’s still a cool way to check out DC’s Nationals baseball field.

12. Museum shop at the Strathmore

From November 9th to November 12th, the Strathmore will be hosting its annual Museum Shop. There will be 18 vendors from DC museums and cultural shops. “The fabulous finds at the Museum Shop Holiday Market make marvelous gifts, and they also support nonprofit museum and arts organizations in our community.”

13. Take a Hike

Once the weather cools and the leaves are falling, go to one of the multiple hiking trails in/around DC to enjoy the beauty. Not only does this make for a picture perfect day, but it’s also a refreshing way to get a workout in. Check out Trip Savvy’s list of the best hiking trails in the area.

14. Spend your Veterans Day paying tribute to DC’s famous memorials

Veteran’s day this year falls on November 11th, so spend this Saturday giving homage to our nation’s heroes at one or two of DC’s famous memorial sites. A few locations include: Arlington National Cemetery, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War II memorial, Navy Memorial, Air Force Memorial, ect.

15. Grab some friends and head to the Pancakes and Booze Art Show

There are three things that every 20something loves and they would be pancakes, booze, and art. As DC’s “premier underground art show” it features over a hundred emerging artists, live DJ’s, body painting, live art, and a FREE pancake bar. This event will take place on November 15th at 8pm at Penn Social.

16. Watch Donald Trump’s first Presidential Turkey Pardon

Each year, the current US president celebrates the upcoming Thanksgiving by pardoning one lucky turkey on the White House lawn. This tradition is already extremely entertaining and can only be even more compelling with current controversial president Donald Trump taking the lead.

17. Attend a Friends-giving

In case you’re unaware; a friends-giving is basically a thanksgiving with your friends, rather than family. This fall, gather a group of friends to hold a friends-giving, with everyone bringing a signature dish or wine. It’s remarkable how fun a thanksgiving can be in a young-adult setting, opposed to alongside your 12-year-old cousins.

18. Check out the fall-theater

The East Coast is home of some of the nation’s best theaters, and DC is no stranger to Broadway-type shows making appearances. Some of the shows coming to DC this fall include: The Book of Mormon, Mean Girls, Death of a Salesman, When Life Gives you Clemens and more.

19. Awe at the National Harbor Christmas Tree lighting

Transition from fall feels to winter wishing at the National Harbor Christmas Tree lighting on Thursday, November 30th. “In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse to light a 48-foot fir tree decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white and green… 93 years later, this American holiday tradition continues to bring citizens together to share in a message of hope and peace.”

20. Have a relaxing night in

Yes, everything on this list is an experience that is worth having this fall, but the one thing every busy 20something needs the most in life is some “me time.” So whip out your apple cinnamon candles, binge watch some American Horror story, or do whatever it is that will put you in your happy place, even if it is for just one night this fall.

1:6

By Christian Brosnan

Everyone going into the public relations, advertising, and/or marketing fields understands the concept of an agency, but not everyone gets to experience it. I have been lucky enough to get a taste this summer of all that this particular realm of the industry has to offer and cannot overstate the positive effect it has had on my personal growth. Much of this is owed to the organization and people I interned for, who believe that all interns can bring more to the table than just getting coffee and doing work around the office. Working here has created a summer of growth and learning that will guide me for the rest of my life.

At my particular internship, I am entrusted to be part of six different teams that work on various campaigns for a multitude of companies. This leads me to the most important component of working at an agency: as a twenty-one-year-old I get to contribute work to real companies that people interact with on a daily basis. Not to diminish the importance of in-house public relations, but in my opinion, working at a single company would not privy me to such widespread experience. Additionally, the fast-paced nature and consistent intensity of agency life, while calling for a well-oiled personal time management system, led to a greater learning experience.  

This relentless workload funnels me into another cornerstone of agency life that is often overlooked but remains crucial. Work at an agency, due to varying factors, does not always end at five o’clock, but often remains constant. The work ethic needed to maintain deadlines is large, yet meeting those deadlines creates quite a feeling of accomplishment.

The amount of work also forces you to become more confident in your own work. The rapid pace of agencies puts a heavy burden on deadlines and calls for everyone’s work to be completed well. This is often a drastic change for students who have only experienced school. In the professional world, but especially in agencies, everyone else is extremely busy and does not have enough time in the day to complete their own work let alone walk you through every step of the process. Whether it is a pressrelease, a blog post, email and pitch construction, social media post, etc., there is a need for you to quickly create content, work hard and trust that you did it well.This was an intimidating aspect of this summer for me. I had published work with and without my name on it for a different company in the past, but there my deadlines were far more generous and I had a large number of people checking my work periodically. This summer, I was expected to put forth good work right away, and I could not be more grateful. Agency life also demands confidence in your co-workers – that they will be upfront with you and tell you when your work missed the mark. This leads me to my final point about the positive effects of agency life.

In agency life, and particularly at my summer internship, the average age of employees is rather young. In my office, I believe the median age is 25-26. This adds an element of relatability and friendship that bolsters the overall internship experience. Working alongside people in a similar age demographic adds to improved comfort levels and better collaboration in the office space, and in my opinion also creates a more enjoyable work environment. Thus making networking easier and enhancing the work/life balance. It also increases the learning process because your co-workers remember the feeling of being in your shoes and want to help you.

Prior to this summer I had a very limited interest in public relations agencies; however, the experiences that I have gained from my internship have changed me in ways that I have only begun to understand. I might be busy all day, but I can confidently say that I have never felt happier or more proud of what I am doing. This internship has not only taught me about myself and my work ethic, but it has also shown me more about the world. I firmly believe that everyone who wants to work in the public relations industry should begin at an agency.

Ode To My Heat Coast Summer

By Ana Lewett

Weather on the East Coast should not have come as any surprise. I couldn’t of heard more weather warnings if I tried when I told my friends and family I would be interning in Washington, D.C. from May through July.

“You’ll be in D.C. in July?” my West Coast friends would jeer, as if humidity was the most offensive thought in the world. “Oh, get ready, that place sucks during the summer.”

I wasn’t excited when one of my favorite teachers and journalists said the hottest he’d ever been in his life – after embedding in Afghani forces in the Middle East and climbing 14ers in the peak of summer in Colorado – was driving through Washington, D.C. with no air conditioning.

Great, fantastic – I had to commit to turning into some kind of amphibian for the summer. At least I’d lose a couple pounds in water weight, I guessed.

Showing up my first day in the District, I was expecting the worst. And I got it. I lugged 72 pounds of clothes, a box of *heavy* sheets and towels (that I didn’t need) and my dolphin pillow pet in and out of a beautifully air-conditioned apartment building in full-blast D.C. heat. I thought that would be the sweatiest I’d ever be, as the freshly hardened sweat on my body would just melt again when I stepped out of the AC. It wouldn’t be. After four caked layers of humidity and sweat from my trips in and outside, I was finally able to shower, extremely bothered and thinking of the precautionary steps I would take the next day to avoid that from ever happening again. 

It happened again. And again, and again. Entering the metro station, dripping. Showing up to work, soaking. At the Gay Pride Parade, beads of sweat rolling from my under-boob, down my dress, and onto my foot. True story. All this information is necessary to gain a full picture of what East Coast humidity really means.

How do people live like this? I began to really question what the point of all this was. It wasn’t getting easier; it was never going to get more “pleasant”.

So I was trapped in the terrarium that is D.C. until August, heat lamp on and an occasional misting to keep the humidity overbearing. You’re going to have to adapt or die, I thought to myself. It’s simple natural selection. Some people aren’t cut out for it- only the finest of our species have the grit to live in this kind of weather and still work in the center of our nation’s happenings. I was going to persist. One hundred degrees and 87% humidity will just have to be the new norm.

And eventually, it was. I went down to the beaches of North Carolina one weekend, and as I left the car for the first time since leaving D.C., I took in the 20% increase in dampness with a smile on my face. OK, I didn’t last for more than 15 minutes. But I almost kind of liked it for a second. Air-conditioning was starting to feel too dry and sterile. Heat and humidity brings soul and character. And that’s something I can live with.

So, turn the AC a little lower and open that window; I’m starting not to mind the wet air so much.

“We Hold These Truths…”?

By Kali Woods

A sense of patriotism ravaged the capital, as strangers from different places gathered together to revel in the anniversary of our country. American flags blew gracefully in the breeze as innocent children ran carelessly through the grass with their sparklers; barbecue grills kindled with the pungent aroma of charcoal smoke; couples kissed passionately under the fizzling of the bright fireworks as if it were midnight on New Year’s Day; their smiles illuminated the night sky.

I wanted to be as joyous as them. I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to feel that same sense of pride, but my heart was conflicted.

When I look at the White House, I’m immediately enticed by its beauty. It stands unwavering in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, serving as the symbol for American prosperity. Everytime I see it, all of the giddy anecdotes I’ve heard in my history classes over the years instantly come to mind: a rotund William Howard Taft stuck in his presidential bathtub; a 

 

 

 

cute, little John F. Kennedy Jr. hiding under the resolute desk; a smiling Bill Clinton playing with his dog, Buddy, on the White House lawn. I wish it could all be so sweet and simple, but as a Black woman in America, my conscience forces me to look past the picture perfect facade that our history books have painted over the years.

 

Thomas Jefferson’s words replay over and over again in my mind: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights….”  Every year we celebrate the power held in these words, boasting about how much more morally sound America was in comparison to other countries back then, but where were the rights of my people? As I meditate on these words, I think of the many women who looked just like me, who were raped by the same Founding Fathers that pushed for the ideals of a just society. I think of the very White House that we admire so much that was constructed by hundreds of slaves laboring tirelessly under the watch of their relentless overseers, only to be denied entry for centuries into the very house which they had built. Where was that “liberty and justice for all” that we recited every morning in school? How had I celebrated the founding of my country for so long, knowing it was built off of the backs of my own ancestors?

 

I instantly felt disgusted in this holiday and myself, as I had found conviction in my own intersectionality. I was battling between my desire to be one with my fellow Americans and willfully acknowledging the struggles of my shortchanged ancestors. My mind wanted to explode.

I racked my brain trying to find a way to balance the two conflicting parts of me, and after digging deeper, I realized that the two sides had more in common than I originally thought. Jefferson’s same words, reiterated by Dr. King nearly two centuries later, allowed me to see that our country’s history is not perfect, but that we are a work in progress. America’s founding principles of equality, democracy, liberty and justice, although oftentimes found to be hypocritical, are the same coveted values that have inspired and still do inspire my people to push through their tribulations. I’m proud to be Black. And I’m proud to be an American, not because of my country’s foundations, but because of the steps we’re now taking to achieve the goals we should have from the beginning.