More adventures from McCollum HS Students in Washington, DC

Roy (Saturday):


Today was by far the craziest day we’ve had. Yesterday was kind of a bust so last night Chris and I agreed to make today the best it could possibly be and we sure did.

Starting this morning we went to a local restaurant called the Hawk and Dove and it was fantastic there. After that Chris and I decided we would go to the Lincoln Memorial to do some sight seeing; we took a taxi there and when we arrived it was gated-off, however the taxi driver did some slick trickery and got us in. Then Chris and I walked around and after awhile we realized we were very lucky to be inside that gated area. Everyone else had passes but not Chris or I; we were just walking and recording.

We got on the same stage where the “House Choir”  sang and we somehow found our way into their formation, however they found out that we were not part of the choir. We wondered what gave it away and when we stepped back we realized it was an all black choir and we stuck out like sore thumbs.

After that we went to the Georgetown Park Mall and looked for some souvenirs, but while we were shopping an emergency alarm went off, all the doors closed and security guards started running all around us. While Chris and I shoved though the crowd to get out of the building, other folks were coming back in. After awhile we realized it was just a drill so we relaxed and kept walking around the mall. We discovered a nice art gallery that was entirely devoted to the President-Elect – it was really neat. There was everything from paintings that morphed Obama’s face into Lincoln’s, to pieces of junk metal welded together to make the image of Obama’s face.

We went to a Youth Ball, which was delightful; they had food from all around the world there – it was strange but cool.

Once the clock struck 9 we had to leave to another ball and that one was wonderful. It was the Green Ball and everything there was entirely environmentally friendly; the lights used 60% less energy and some of the dresses and coats were made entirely of recycled materials. They had the singer Wyclef Jean there to entertain the crowd and during his encore performance the singer pulled me on stage and I had a blast up there!

Chris and I finally went our separate ways after that event; he went to the hotel and I joined my friends from North Carolina as they went to a Young and Powerful party. I arrived at the hotel at around 3am and that was my day.

Roy (Sunday):

Today was a very slow day for me. I stayed home and rested up for tomorrow. But I did go out once Chris and I took the subway to go have dinner in downtown D.C.

There was one thing that I saw today that really made me think. On the subway we sat by some very nice African-American ladies and when they talked about Barack their eyes lit up and you could see that hope had been restored in their hearts because they had found their leader. It was beautiful.

Then I started to think if there has already been plenty of Caucasians in the White House and now an African-American is about to live in the most famous house in the world, it seems as though perhaps our turn is next. As we await for the next leader in the Latino community to arise it is my belief that we – the young Latinos of this community like myself – must start to change the way we do things. We must start taking education seriously. Our ethnic group has the highest dropout rate in the nation; let us start by staying in school and off the streets. We must as young men hold ourselves to a higher standard; we have got to start respecting the young women of our community; stop trying to be little pimps and start being young gentlemen. Our ethnic group has the highest pregnancy rates in the nation and that is unacceptable. But there is also something amazing about us as Latinos – we have endured years of being secondhand citizens, we have overcome almost every obstacle that has come in our way, and we have silenced every critic who has tried to tell us we could not accomplish what we have already determined we would. Our time is coming and our moment is fast approaching – we are soon to be the largest minority group in the nation, but before that day comes let us begin to prepare by changing our behaviors and attitudes. Cesar Chavez and other Latino leader like him have taken us to the mountaintop, but now it is up to us to find a way to enter into the promised land.

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