This photo was taken moments after our long anticipated first visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture this past weekend. I cropped the picture that Sammy snapped with me off to the side and de-centered literally and figuratively on purpose. Here the boys are seen as glowing, radiant young men. My theory? This is what seeing yourself glorified celebrated, and prioritized feels like.
I took in the significance that I was in the minority visiting a national cultural center as an audience member. I was acutely aware of my whiteness passing through the halls seeing all manners of ghastly atrocities my ancestors participated in and I’ve benefited from as a result. I experienced deep joy seeing Marcel and Sam drop in to all the celebratory energy surrounding them.
I feel gratitude for ALL of it-a tremendous mirror into our shared reality today that we’re all just beginning to unpack.
In addition to spending a good part of the day there, we made our way across town (via electric scooters of course) to the National Portrait Gallery to pay the Obamas, Toni Morrison, LL Cool Jay among others a visit.
I was born in Washington, DC during a snow storm and race riots in 1968. Fifty years later I returned home and fell in love with DC through my sons’ eyes and my own historical perspective simultaneously in a way I’ve not experienced before. We were all being held up at the same time and loved on by my brother and his family.
As you might imagine I began to wonder if all of these experiences might expand or deepen if we were to relocate there? What could the DMV area (DC, Maryland, Virginia) offer each of us personally, culturally, racially, educationally professionally and all that and more-ally compared to where we are now?
Walking along the sidewalk downtown Marcel could have been speaking for all of us to a degree when he observed; “Now for the first time I see myself grown up all around me and I realize I’ll make it. I make sense.”