Beauty Of Democracy - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1750753

Beauty Of Democracy

After the violence at the Capitol Building last week, many have written about how the Capitol in Washington, D.C., inspired feelings of awe and reverence.

These same sentiments were expressed last year by Latinx students and their parents who participated in an outreach program at the Children’s Museum of the East End. We were on a field trip to Washington, D.C., in January 2020, and, the morning before our departure, most of our group was able to visit the Capitol.

Recalling our visit this past week, Ana Jimenez, a young mother, wrote, “I couldn’t sleep the night before. As a daughter of immigrant parents I never thought nor dreamed that I can step foot inside the Capitol.”

Her parents, who had traveled with us, would see their daughter translate English to Spanish, assisting the tour guide as our group visited the Capitol: “I learned the history at the same time I was translating it.”

For her, this was the most amazing thing that could happen: an immigrant child could grow up and help others learn about their country.

All the parents on our trip reported how Capitol security was so welcoming, and how the children especially felt so safe in the building. As Gaby J. said, “The Capitol feels like our home, and it is respectful and safe.”

This doesn’t sound surprising — until you remember that so many of these children have endured oppression and lived in the shadows.

In Washington, the nearly three dozen families in our group witnessed the beauty of democracy. But, this past Wednesday, their hearts were broken. Student Mia L. said, “Tears came from my eyes and pain from my soul, because patriotism was trampled on.” Justin A., who reveled in the history of the Rotunda, the Statuary Hall and the congressional galleries, said, “It was a beautiful place, and now it is a disaster.”

Still, children are resilient. As Ian Z. wrote, “Hopefully, we realize as a country we can do better and we will start to grow into a more connected and united nation.”

Amen, dear boy. Amen.

Leah Oppenheimer

Director of Community Outreach

Children’s Museum of the East End

Bridgehampton

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