Bills, cubicles, rush hour, reports, deadlines, chores… It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and forget why we are even walking. Day after day we wake up to our alarms clocks and do the same routine over and over again. We do it all for the paycheck that affords us to have some time during our 2-day break that splits our work life in two a blazing 52 weeks.
On one of my more recent trips, there was pit stop made in DC. The goal was not to roam around DC but rather spend the night and then jump on the auto train to come back home; however, the trip took an unscheduled surprise when I found out one of my spouse’s cousin lived right there; we extended our stay an extra night. After dinner we took a long stroll along the National Mall; not growing in the mainland USA I have never had an appreciation for US History. However, once I moved to the mainland I realized that I might have been silly to not retain US History in my brain. Day after day I was constantly reminded that while I was a USA citizen, I was not quite equal. It all began when people would refuse to pronounce my name, and hence a new “white” nickname was born. One easy enough to pronounce, but yet enough to remind me that I am not 100% in the cool kids club.
Hmmm, cool kids club, interesting term… one we will save for later discussion. Let's talk about the time I was told that I would not be successful unless I got rid of my accent. No, I will not talk about that either. Instead, let me tell you what the National Mall made me realize…
Our heritage as a country can be summarized in one sentence: People fleeing persecution by King Charles I were responsible for settling most of New England, and the Province of Maryland was founded in part to be a haven for Roman Catholics. Let that sink in.
Now, fast forward to one of the newest memorials in the National Mall, Martin Luther King Jr. Its presence in “off the beaten path” from the main National Mall area marks it a perfect place. Overlooking the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial it is in a secluded quiet spot. The rock facade of MLK beaming out of a mountain is a perfect representation of his vision of hope. I stood at this memorial for some time, quietly, and in mental thought. Are we where we want to be? Are we a true melting pot? Or are we fooling ourselves? I don't know, but that is where photography allows me to view things through a different lens. The lens of frozen time, moments captured, reflection, a moment of thought and for a brief moment an escape from reality.