By David Villegas
Being born and raised in Chicago, I never had the luxury of going out of state except to Mexico to visit my relatives.
That all changed when Pastor Ben Adams of the South Loop Campus Ministry took Roosevelt students on a trip to Washington D.C.
We stayed in the Steinbruck Center at Luther Place Memorial Church which is a few blocks away from the White House. The Steinbruck Center is a hostel that serves groups of students ranging from middle school to college from all over the country learning about issues that affect the D.C. area.
There were a few workshops that gave us insight on the problems that homeless people face and the state of race relations currently in this country. There was one group from the Penn State Lutheran Campus Ministry as well as one from Loyola University Maryland. The hospitality surprised me because we not only shared beds, but also food and played games as well as enjoyed having conversations.
We were able to do volunteer work such as preparing food with the D.C. Central Kitchen in Northeast D.C. as well as participating in a poverty simulation at the Church of the Pilgrims in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of D.C.
I participated in the Stop The Gag march by myself. I was nervous at first, but I gained confidence later when I started a conversation with a man from Virginia who witnessed a lot of these marches on the National Mall. On Friday, a number of us from Roosevelt as well as from the two other groups participated in the Native Nations Rise march in solidarity with the First Nations. Also on Friday our group from Roosevelt got to do advocacy work with staff members from the offices of U.S. senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky.
During my free time, I took photos of various monuments within D.C. as well as a trip to the Old Town area of Alexandria, Virginia which has tones from its past as a colonial town. I was also able to experience the nearby neighborhoods of Shaw and Adams Morgan, which have been gentrifying in recent years. The boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and theaters of both Alexandria and D.C. captured my attention.
Overall, this spring break showed me that there is a world out there worth exploring in person that’s not on a computer screen.