The Malden Youth Civics Council on their trip. Photo submitted by Abhishek Rana.
On Tuesday, April 16th, the Malden Youth Civics Council set out on a plane to Washington DC. The Civics Council went to DC to explore the city and learn the history of American and its political standings and stimulate discussions around civics.
The funding for the trip came from Cathy MacMullin, a staff member from the Malden Teen Enrichment Center. Birukti Tsige, a senior at Malden High, and First Chair of the Civics Council stated that “Cathy MacMullin from the Malden Teen Enrichment Center had funding to take students to DC and she chose the Malden Youth Civics Council as the group she wanted to take.” Tsige also states it was her first time going to D.C but “it certainly won't be [her] last.” The planning for the trip was extensive and started months before they left for the trip. The Malden Teen Enrichment Center took care of most of the planning, and the Youth Civics Council “just had to make sure [they] had all [their] paperwork completed, and that [they] were attending places [they] wanted to go to.”
Tsige said that her favorite part of the trip was “riding on the bus, doing karaoke with all the members of the council, driving by historical parts of DC, seeing cherry blossoms and [their] tour guide telling [them] cool facts about all the places [they] were passing.” She also stated “It really made history real. Suddenly, it was not just a textbook. [She] was reading about events, but [she] was actually in George Washington's home and reading the Constitution of the United States underneath a glass, that was incomparable to any book [they] could read or movie [they] could watch.”
Felix Li, another senior at Malden High, says his trip to DC was “amazing.” He states the experience was “definitely both an informative and fun trip.” He learned a “great deal about the history of the nation, specifically African American History and the Holocaust.” After coming back, Li says he definitely had a new perspective, stating “[he] came back with a furthered appreciation for our elected government officials. After being able to put a place/location to the hardworking Congress members made government and politics not seem too isolating and distant.” The highlight of the trip for Li was visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “Walking into the exhibits gave a certain gravity and magnitude to the subjugation and treatment of Africans and African Americans that learning from a textbook doesn’t,” he says.
Michelle Chan, senior, gave more background information on the relationship between MTEC and the Youth Civics Council, stating “the Malden Youth Civics Council has been working with the Malden Teen Enrichment Center since its creation over last summer. MTEC has helped [them] with providing a space for [them] to host [their] workshops and even some meetings.” Cathy MacMullin from the Teen Center has been wanting to take a group of kids to DC since MTEC was first created and she felt the MYCC and some other students were “the perfect people to go.” Although this was not her first time in DC, Chan elaborates on her newest perspective after coming back. Chan states “in the past few years, [she’s] worked hard on trying not to assume things about people if [she] hear what political party they belong to. Going to DC was intimidating at first since it's the center of American politics, which can be extremely intimidating. It was fascinating to see all the different types of people walking around with different views. Even the people on the trip didn't always agree on topics. It just makes [her] more open minded and willing to talk to others about their opinions and why they feel the way they do.”
The trip lasted a total of five days. They visited numerous memorials and historic sites. Each day held something new for the Civics Council and they were able to come back with a new take on political views, and over all just a new perspective of what is really going on in the world.