The Mexican Cultural Institute
Week 7 Journal Entry - July 11th — July 17th
Today was a short CHCI programming day so we all had the afternoon open for outside activities. Two fellow CHCI interns and I decided to visit the Mexican Cultural Institute in Columbia Heights. It was amazing seeing all the art within the building and surrounding you. The walls have been covered with different art pieces both framed and on the literal wall. Downstairs there is a monthly exhibit dedicated to a different Mexican state and its beauty. After spending some time at the Institute, we decided to head over to a Dominican restaurant that one of the interns recommended. I ordered Mangú which is smashed plantains and they were really good! Some of the best food I’ve had in the DC area. By the time we finished it was beginning to get dark so we decided to go our separate ways and end the day.
Today all the CHCI interns were allowed to delay going into work because we were some of the first people to preview a new exhibit in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History which was fixated on Latinos and they hope can be used as a launchpad to create a separate museum within the next decade. Although it was a bit small, it was really enlightening about the struggles and hurdles we as Latinos have had to go through. I really hope I can see it expand as time goes on. After the exhibit gallery visit I went over to the National Democratic Club to have lunch with CHCI’s CEO Marco Davis with some other interns to have a conversation about our beliefs and career paths. It initially felt a little awkward because I felt as if we all wanted to say only impressive things about our offices and ourselves, but I think Marco knew that so he initiated a lot of the conversation. I ended up learning some new things from the other CHCI interns about their experiences were when they were younger and how it basically amalgamated to who they are now. They were all graduating or had graduated from university which was reassuring that people with similar experiences can go into similar spaces.
Today has been quite a day at work. I finally received my ID card after weeks of having to use a guest card and going through security. I finally feel comfortable going around the headquarters by myself or without some sort of note to excuse me from the passing guards. After work, Nadia and Anissa, fellow CAMP interns, came to the building to talk with my office’s director, Dr. Ramirez. We then had a bigger roundtable with some Hispanic guests to talk with all of us. One of whom was Dr. Diaz who used to be the Director of my own CAMP program. They all gave us their experiences and advice as Latinos working in spaces where there isn’t much representation and how we can advocate for our communities as Latinos.
Saturday, I didn’t do much other than go grocery shopping, cleaning everything in my room, and prepping some food for next week. I was a bit too tired to go out and do something that day. On Sunday however, I went to eat brunch in Virginia then went thrift shopping with three other CHCI interns. I found some great clothes for incredibly cheap and a new coat for winter when I go back which I really liked. We then went exploring around Arlington and talking which is always enjoyable. However, it was getting a bit hot and we went over to get ice cream. They specialized in mango so they didn’t have many options, but I got green tea ice cream for the first time, which is definitely my new favorite flavor. This Sunday has been one of my favorite days of this entire internship just from how simple it was, it reminded me of back home.