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This past weekend our program director Professor Williams graciously invited us to his aunt’s home for a community dinner followed by a drum circle in Malcolm X Park. The drum circle was more than a performance, it was a conversation between all the musicians across instruments and abilities. Traditional drums, snares, flutes, cowbells, bass, drum sticks, hands, and feet all found each other without words, moving through the rhythms and the people around them. The pulse rose and fell, sometimes losing its unity, only to surge again as an agreement was reached around the circle. It was here I realized how I had been living as a separate voice, that I had lost sight of the people my work will affect. Being in the center of national politics, it is easy for me to forget that I am living in a breathing, growing, and changing city. D.C. is not just a vessel for the government but a home to generations of families and their histories. The music was both a literal and metaphorical experience of the city’s life cycle. It was born from a variety of voices and opinions that find a harmony and rhythm within their differences. I felt the individual voices find their unique space, each strong enough to lead or break the unity, shaping the city’s ebb and flow. Now that I have found my way back to the heart of D.C. I feel its pulse in both my work and daily life.

Musicians in the drum circle