Reflections

I spent my last few hours in D.C. waiting for my flight home and all I could think about is how blessed I am.

I am so blessed to be able to have this amazing opportunity in D.C. and fortunate to have parents who pushed me to go travel, experience and fun in different places. I learned so much in a short amount of time about how media and politics operate in D.C. (and how Capitol Hill is in its own little world but basically runs the world).

Who can actually say they’ve been on the House floor and went into the cloak room? Who can say they went on a monument tour on a party bus? How many people can say they met Bill Clinton’s Press Secretary Mike McCurry? I mean this list could go on and on.

I’m thankful for my mom who was really the one who pushed me to go study elsewhere for the summer even though I thought it was best for me to stay in Baton Rouge. I wanted to work, pay my bills and save money for the upcoming fall semester. I knew I couldn’t pay for a study abroad trip on my own, save money to live abroad and still find a way to pay for my other bills which is why I didn’t even entertain the idea of studying abroad for even a short four weeks.

But my parents made it so I could save money. They offered to take on some of my bills and help me through the last couple of months of the spring semester so I could save most of my paychecks to pay for a program, live comfortably and sustain myself in a new city or country

I was also blessed to be apart of the brand new study abroad ambassador program at LSU during the spring semester which offered a scholarship for Academic Programs Abroad. I was able to connect with an international student from Iran named Fatemeh and was able to show her around LSU and Baton Rouge. I’m happy to now call be my friend. This scholarship helped tremendously with the burden of the price of studying abroad.

I was originally trying to go to Europe for study abroad but was on the waitlist for awhile and decided to lock in my spot in D.C. and I know now that was only God working in my life. I believe now, I was supposedto be in D.C. this summer so I could reflect on my purpose and choices in mass communication. I’m now aware of how many more options and avenues there are for me.

I also fell in love with the city. Its not to big but it’s big enough and it’s clean for the most part (unlike NYC). I have already began to look for internships in D.C. for next summer. I could see myself moving to D.C. after I graduate undergrad and going to law school.

I didn’t realize until I made it home that I was able to forget about all of my obligations and everything weighing me down. I was really able to take a much needed breather from life back home in and really return to myself, the true me. Spring semester was tough towards the end because I lost my grandmother to cancer about two and a half weeks before finals. So along with the stress from finals in general, I was sad and depressed. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it through finals and remember thinking the last few weeks felt like a lifetime. So D.C. gave me a mental break and new scenery (even if it was school). For the first time in a while, I’m able to say I feel like myself again.

I think that’s the most important part of this whole experience is that I genuinely enjoyed myself and every day in D.C. 

I’m truly thankful.

Protest for Healthcare on Capitol Hill

“Stand on the right side of history” is what Representative and Civil Rights Activist John Lewis said at the protest last Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

This protest was a part of the three day “People’s Filibuster” which was co-organized by more than 19 groups. Planned Parenthood was one of these groups, who will be defunded for a year if the senate GOP healthcare bill passes. Pro-choice and pro-life advocates can argue over their views for days but the fact still remains Planned Parenthood is the largest single provider of health reproductive services in the United States. This is very important.  Planned Parenthood being defunded will lead to larger problems.

The Congressional Budget Office said 22 million Americans will lose their healthcare and be uninsured by 2026 if the GOP bill passes. To put this into context, only about 4.671 million people live in Louisiana. 22 million people losing healthcare would be equivalent to almost five times the population of the state of Louisiana losing health care. After hearing this, it is obvious there is a flaw with this healthcare bill that even the GOP can’t deny.

Senator of California, Kamala Harris stated at the protest that healthcare is not a privilege and should be a right for all Americans.

Healthcare should have never been considered as a privilege in the United States and should have always been seen as an inalienable right. Healthcare should have never been seen as a prize that gets auctioned off to the highest bidder which so happens to also be the wealthiest people in this country.

I think it’s obvious something is wrong when “Trumpcare” tax breaks would mostly benefit the wealthiest citizens. The goals of this healthcare bill are not centered around caring for actual american lives but more so about money and repealing “Obamacare” or ACA. This GOP senate healthcare bill is not rectifying the issues with ACA and if passed will only make current issues worse.

Currently, 26 countries have universal healthcare or free health care, including France. Anita Chang Beattie, editor on the Agence France-Presse said it’s hard for citizens in France to grasp the concept of the United States not having free healthcare for citizens because they are provided with it. Also they do not understand why congress wouldn’t want to undo ACA if it’s providing most of Americans with affordable health care.

Even citizens of America find the idea of repealing Obamacare hard to believe because it provides a lot of people with affordable and needed healthcare for either them or their families. Many of people at this protest on Capitol Hill had signs stating they will lose their healthcare if this bill passes or will be denied healthcare because of their pre-existing condition.


That being said, it’s so important for us, millennials, to stand on the right side of history and continue to fight for justice and equality for everyone so we can push the dial forward.

I believe protests, like this one on Capitol Hill, are important to attend if you believe the issue is worth fighting for.

Capitol Visit

I’ve been to Washington plenty of times, but this was my first time actually going inside the Capitol.

The first visit was nice but the Capitol was so crowded during that day.  I felt rushed and didn’t feel like I learned a lot. But a couple great things came out of that first visit.

For example, I was able to take the unground tunnel from one of the senate buildings to the Capitol.

 


I was also happy my tour guide made a point to stop at this painting of Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman in congress.


Lastly, we were able to meet Representative Garrett Graves who invited us back for a night tour he gives himself.

I didn’t know what to expect for this night tour other than the fact the Capitol was going to be mostly empty which was why I wanted to go.

The Capitol building at night is really a sight to see. I immediately understood why it was made to be the center of D.C.


I didn’t think this night tour was going to be exclusively different than the previous tour but it actually was.

I was able to see and sit on the U.S. House floor. This was the room where President Obama gave his State of the Union addresses. It’s still surreal.

I also went into the House Democratic Cloakroom where members basically go to relax. I was surprised to see a kitchenette. a “cloakroom menu” and a few couches. It just reminded me that although they’re helping run the country, they’re still regular people too.

I also able to experience The Lincoln Room which was named by the Majority Whip, Steve Scalise. It’s crazy to think President Lincoln stood right in that room as a congressman and sat right by the same fireplace I sat by.

Being the political junkie I am, this was probably my favorite experience so far here in D.C.

Do we live in a Post-Truth World?

After completing the second week of classes in D.C., I’ve seen a reoccurring theme with all the speakers.

There is this idea, which I believe to be true, that technology and social media has shaped the world into being less based in fact and in return has changed what the context of truth is.

Being a communication student, I thought truth was the same as factual truth and people actually seek factual truth in all they do. This obviously is not the case (ex. Donald Trump).
But I’m still stuck on this question, if someone truly believes what they’re saying or what they believe is the truth but it’s false…Then is it technically a lie?

I would like to think untrue and false is synonymous. But what if it’s someone’s self-truth and it’s still false?

Gerry Rice, IMF Communication Director, claims we are living in a “post-truth world.” I agree with the context of his statement because we are living in a world that is uninterested in the real truth, only the truth that benefits them. So I’d tweak it to say we are living in a post-fact world.

This is because people are not seeking to ground their own truth in facts which is where the problem arises. We, as a society, are okay with living in our own bubbles and echochambers. Our own truths are solidified in confirmation bias and our skewed opinions, not necessarily in facts.

Gerry Rice ended on a positive note and believes that “truth will make a come back.”

I believe truth will make a come back, when all media stops feeding into greed and covering the stories that are “sexy”  and wants to educate and inform their consumers. I believe truth will make a come back when society genuinely wants to be educated with well-rounded information and begins to questions their own biases and opinions.

Once society starts solidifying self-truths with facts, I’m also hopeful the real factual “truth will make a come back.”

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Everyone is not entitled to their own facts.”

First Week in D.C.

I thought I was supposed to be getting away from the heat in Louisiana by coming to D.C. I obviously was wrong, I have now added “cool weather” to my prayers during these first few days out here.

Besides the weather, I never want to leave.

I love how busy D.C. moves and how everyone looks like they’re in a rush (even at 6 pm at night). There can truly be a new adventure every day, if you choose to explore. This is much different from the small town I’m from. All Lake Charles has is casinos and good food.

There is so much culture and history in Washington and I am throughly enjoying learning about it.

I never thought I would say or think this but I actually enjoy going to class. This is mostly because of the speakers, they’re some pretty cool people who just happen to have some dope jobs relating to media and politics.  I may be a little biased but I truly believe media and politics really is the best intersection.

It’s now clear to me after this first week, you don’t have to be an elected official to be successful in the nation’s capital.

I have been self reflecting on my path in Mass Communication and my journey after undergrad. I know this month here in D.C. will definitely help and give me an idea of what I want to do.

I am look forwarding and optimistic of what’s to come these next few weeks.

The Pains of Traveling

Traveling is terrible. Let me clarify, the act of reaching a destination is unpleasant and this is what I mean by traveling. I absolutely love going different places and experiencing new things in different cities, states and countries but I hate what it takes to get to these places.

I believe I have the right to have this pessimistic attitude towards traveling because of all the traveling I’ve done that has turned sour. 

But still I, stupidly, was hopeful that my travels would go well this past Saturday. Why?

Because I was going to D.C., the Nation’s capital.

Source: trollytours

I was excited and energized that morning….until I got on the interstate. I was traveling from Lake Charles to New Orleans which is three hours on a good day. Well, Saturday obviously wasn’t a good day.

Originally, the plan was to leave my house at 7:30 because my flight was at 12:30. My mother and I both have this habit of running late and not sticking to the planned schedule so we always account for extra time, just in case. That being said, my mom and I left Lake Charles around 8:15. All was well, I would’ve still had an hour to spare at the airport which left me time for my baggage check and to get through TSA and make it to my flight on time.

So I thought.

Long story short, there were two detours and a wreck on the interstate from Lake Charles to New Orleans and it took almost fours hours to actually get to the airport.

So now, if you couldn’t guess, I was stressed and annoyed.

Source: Key and Peele


I was basically running to the United check-in area hauling two very large luggages. I knew everyone was looking at me like I was crazy. I didn’t care.

I arrived at check-in at 12:02.

Check-in ended at 12:00 and guess what? I was not allowed to check-in and missed my flight because of this.

Luckily, there was a connecting flight to Houston later that day that was flying into D.C. that night so I didn’t have to pay any fees to get a new flight.

Source: Adrienne Boutte

But that wasn’t the last of my problems, my luggage was overweight and to send it I would have had to pay almost $300 (which would’ve been more than the flight itself). I refused to pay the $300 for the luggage and so did my mother. 

At this point, I was livid. I did all that planning and packing but in the end it didn’t matter, I still missed my flight and couldn’t bring every thing I packed.

We spent half an hour taking out different clothing, strategically, from my luggage so there would be no overage fee. I was sad I couldn’t take everything I packed with me and in return felt unprepared for this month long trip.

I know in the end, I still made it to D.C. unharmed and am enjoying my time here which I am thankful for. 

But this story has now been added to my long mental list of unpleasant traveling experiences which I why I will continue to hate traveling: the act of reaching a destination.

Why you may be part of the problem…

blacklivesmatter-2

The movement and hashtag “Black Lives Matter” is not anti-white nor is it anti-cop. It is not anti-anything, it’s simply pro-awareness and is advocating for dignity, justice and freedom because our country has seemed to forget that black lives matter along with every other life. It’s  used as a reminder that Black Lives Matter too.

So if you choose to believe that “black lives matter” is racist because it leaves out other lives of different races, well, you are simply just uninformed and in return part of the problem

If you say and choose to believe this fairytale that minorities in this country have every single right as the majority, you are part of the problem. You are simply choosing to act blind to the fact that systemic and institutionalized racism is proven factually and statistically. 

When you say you love everyone and all lives matter but our brothers’ bodies are laid out in the street and bash people for using #BlackLivesMatter you ARE part of the problem. 

If you choose to bring up “black on black” crime every time a police shoots a black man because people are outraged, YOU ARE part of the problem.

Side note: I learned from the most recent FBI homicide statistics that whites kill more whites than blacks kill blacks and yes I’ll admit that the ratio of black homicides against black victims is greater. But don’t you find it funny that the media never says the words “white-on-white crime or murder”. 

With that being said black on black crime/murders does not correlate with police brutality. A civilian that kills another person is brought to justice and sent to jail, rightfully so. Civilians do not take an oath to protect and serve  the community they work for but on the other hand police do.

 

Now, people have already began to say that the black lives matter movement is “a domestic terrorist organization” because of the recent shooting in Dallas where sadly 5 officers were killed.  To be frank, that doesn’t sit well with me. That would be equivalent to saying all white people are racist and a threat to black people because of the Dylann Roof shooting. 

“To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible,” which was said in a statement by the BlackLivesMatter network.  

Now again I will say Black Lives Matter is not a hate group and shouldn’t be blamed for those deaths in Dallas.

 

Now for all of you who choose to stand idle, shame on you. It’s simply not enough to claim you are “not racist”. Although yes all lives do matter is a true statement, it is doing nothing to rectify the problems being faced by the black community which is why there is a need for Black Lives Matter.

Until the justice system in America carries the process of law equally for every race and every citizen, our work is not done. 

Until then #BlackLivesMatter

 

#AltonSterling

#PhilanderCastile

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”-Desmond Tutu

 

Link to Louisiana Congress members: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi?site=ctc2011&state=la