WCSC Student Blog

Archive for June, 2010

Mt. Vernon

June 25th, 2010 – by wssms663

One fine weekend a little earlier this summer, those of us hanging around the WCSC house decided to take a trip to Mt. Vernon, the home of our first President.  After watching a short film on Washington’s life, we wandered the expansive grounds, which included everything from gardens to a wharf to a dung repository.

The greatly esteemed Dung Repositorypart of the group with the greatly esteemed Dung Repository (click for more photos)

The afternoon visit proved a pleasant (albeit warm) historical experience, and a good way to get out of the house.

Who is DC?

June 21st, 2010 – by Emily Benner

Kelly Miller writes:

Every day, I leave my internship at 424 C St. NE around 5 pm. I walk for about a half a mile down Massachusetts Ave. toward Union Station. The people I pass are always alone and overwhelmingly white. Most are dressed to a tee in power suits, heels and designer sunglasses. They often are disconnected from the world they pass through. Many talk on cell phones or listen to music, unaware of the homeless woman asleep on the bench or the security guards they pass by every day.

However, as soon as I pop off the Brookland metro, everything is different. I am now the minority. African-Americans surround me. Many people are out and about enjoying the summer evening with a son, daughter, husband or grandmother. I say hello to older adults, enjoying the breeze on their 10th St. porches and those I pass on the sidewalk smile at me. I have become especially attached to an elderly gentleman I’ve passed twice coming off the metro. He walks with a cane and his dentures come loose when he says hello. I hope to see him again so I can slow to his pace and have a real conversation with him.
I shouldn’t be surprised by this incredible contrast. Kim warned us about the difference between white Washington and black DC, but it still saddens me. I have to admit, though, I’m playing right into this dichotomy. I conform to the standard of those around me. On Massachussetts Ave, I am in my own world. On 10th St., I am part of the community around me. I wonder, is there a way to bring these two different realities together? Can we learn from each other and erase the disconnect that is Washington, DC? I hope so. Let’s see if I can be an agent of that change, however small, in my time here.

Putting a Face to Homelessness

June 18th, 2010 – by Emily Benner

“Near the Columbia Heights metro station I saw a man who’s legs were laying in the middle of the street. I was tired and had my ipod in and wouldn’t have seen him except that a couple people around me were looking at him worriedly. They ended up deciding it was okay but I was worried and went over to just ask him to move his legs out of the street so they wouldn’t be smashed. I wasn’t sure if he was drunk or just exhausted. When I asked him to move his legs he looked up and whimpered “Help me!”. I had only planned on making sure he was out of physical harm but suddenly that seemed cruel so I said “Ok, I’ll help” and I brought him into Panda Express and helped him eat some food. He had just come out of the hospital. His name was Bill, he tearfully told me his whole family was dead, he was old and frail but assured me he could do construction work. He didn’t finish his whole meal and eventually left to ostensibly go sleep in a shelter. I have no idea if he ever got there. I think about Bill frequently now. I think about him vis a vis DC cutting it’s social safety nets, or health care or all these issues where we’re talking about the “poor” and “less fortunate”. It’s easy to get caught in abstractions but Bill is a real person and he’s not dispensable.” -Anonymous response on spring semester student survey