An Unforgettable Experience

UCDC fellows above the washington mall

My time in DC absolutely flew by! Having been back in California for a little over two weeks, I already miss the DC Spring weather, my UCDC friends, and my internship. The remainder of my semester was jam-packed with events, ranging from touring the Capitol Building to attending the Cherry Blossom Festival. 

In reflecting upon my time in DC, I would have to say one of the most memorable activities was attending the Supreme Court oral argument, Currier v Virginia. A few of my classmates and I arrived at the Supreme Court building before the sun had come up, and got in line to secure one of the limited 50 spots reserved for the public. Around 8am, we were given a ticket, let into the building, and told to wait in the Supreme Court cafeteria. It was there that I saw the infamous Frozen Yogurt machine that Justice Sotomayor was praised for installing during her first year as a Supreme Court Justice, as well as enjoy some of the breakfast food I imagine the Justices also enjoy on occasion. At 9:30, we were instructed to assemble into a line, and were finally allowed to enter the courtroom. Although I had seen the courtroom in photos, I was in awe as I took my seat. It was extraordinary to see the Justices I had spent all semester learning about in person. The proceedings of the oral argument were more casual than I had anticipated, with the Justices firing off a round of questions to the attorneys representing each side of the case, while leaning back in their chairs and intermittently inserting jokes into their questions and comments. It was definitely a unique and unforgettable experience.

I also had the amazing opportunity to attend the Ridenhour Prizes Ceremony and Luncheon at The National Press Club, where the founder of the #MeToo Movement, Tarana Burke, and the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, were awarded prizes for courage and truth-telling. It was incredibly inspirational to hear both of them speak about their experience advocating for social justice and change. 

Overall, UCDC was an incredible experience that I will remember for a lifetime. DC was essential to my developing my interest and involvement in politics, increasing my knowledge in law and government, and solidifying my goal to pursue a career in social justice. I already can’t wait to go back!