My Own Backyard

July 12, 2023

Top, left: group of students; bottom, left: man giving high five to student; right: mural of a woman

Written by: Karina Sanchez, Caminos al Futuro 2023

Although I grew up five minutes from Washington, D.C. my entire life, I had never really gone into the city and explored it. It was not until I came to Caminos al Futuro that I started to explore D.C. with my cohort. Today, we explored the side of D.C. I have not had the chance to see. I was exposed to the beautiful culture that exists within the city by touring the murals painted on the walls of local businesses, each displaying the shared background the residents of D.C have created in the years they have resided here.

After our mural tour, we met Eduardo Perdomo, Director of the D.C. Mayor's Office of Latino Affairs. He discussed how he and his team sought to preserve the existing Latino community by creating “El Barrio”. Hearing this made me feel happy because oftentimes it feels like communities made up mostly of people of color are being erased from urban areas like D.C. I would have never known this if I had not come to Caminos. Before coming to the program, I had been slightly aware of things that were going on within the Latino community yet still ignorant to what was fully going on. In the week and a half that I have been here, I have learned the triumphs and challenges of the Latino community. I hope to keep on learning more throughout the rest of my time here.

Caminos has been a wonderful experience, and I am glad to be here. In the past week, I have gotten out of my comfort zone and met new people from all over the country. I have also learned about how I can approach the college application process. This has influenced the way I think about the college application process and made me feel more confident about myself. Although I have been here for a short time, I have discovered more about myself, and being surrounded by a supportive environment is important to be able to thrive in these environments. I never knew I could find this in my own backyard.

Karina Sanchez is a Caminos al Futuro 2023 scholar. Karina’s views are her own and not necessarily reflective of the Cisneros Institute.