Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Look at Unified Diversity in Our Nation's Capital

Anyone who comes to DC must tour the memorials after dark, when the moon is shining, and there is a tour group with lightsabers glowing on the steps of Lincoln's memorial (seriously, they were there last night!). The marble really does glow, and there is no steaming hot sun to blind you and obscure your vision of the incredible monuments that honor our nation's history. Last night, I walked from our housing at South Hall to the Lincoln Memorial and enjoyed the cool breeze and the view of the Mall on  the way. It's very safe, even at 10:30pm on a Saturday, and you're guaranteed to gather snippets of conversations in every language you could imagine, as there are families and groups everywhere--although, no where near as crowded as the daytime, which is nice.

It's beautiful to be amidst this mass coming-together of cultures all over the world. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, I could hear the Maghrib (prayer at sunset) being said, while french was rapidly spoken, and the familiar Southern drawl of US families too remarking over the beauty of the monument.

That is my favorite thing about Washington DC--people from everywhere, all over the world, are here and living together. It's wonderful and fitting that our nation's capital is home to such diversity.  

This week as an intern, I had manny chances to witness this diversity--specifically, within the Disability Community. The National Center for Independent Living had its nationwide conference last week, bringing together its members from across the country to celebrate the power and pride that the Disability Community wields. My supervisors at United Spinal Assoc. gave me the green light to attend the conference's Legislative Session, which discussed both current laws and prospective bills that are crucial to our civil rights and the issues surrounding this legislation, now. Not only did I learn so much about current policies that are relevant to 1 in every 5 Americans, but I was exposed to the wide array of people that are part of our community, which was such a refreshing experience.

Also last week, I accompanied my mentor to the US International Council on Disabilities' annual conference, which brought people as far as Uganda to the event. The conference was generally focused on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the US' next step in ratifying the treaty, which would "provide greater force and clarity to the ADA" around the world.

I have learned so much already in my 2 weeks on the job, and I can't wait to keep it up!


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