This morning we rode the rails to the SW end of the Northeast Corridor line: Washington, DC.
Here I am in front of the White House.
We contemplated the (George) Washington Monument.
We pedaled to the Capitol. In Jeffrey’s youth, the People’s House wasn’t closed and barricaded.
That’s the Washington Monument at the other end of the Mall.
Everywhere we went, people talked to us, asked about the Ride, and expressed support for providing counsel and giving a humane reception to refugees and asylum applicants. A family from India, now living in Connecticut. A woman who said her first readings in law school were about refugees who were returned by the U.S. to face the persecution they had fled; she personally has helped resettle Syrian refugees, and said it is getting harder and harder to help them. People from the world over who photographed our sign.
Here are some of our many new friends.
Pedaling away from the Mall, Jeffrey spotted the Mayflower Hotel. When he was 18, he won a scholarship and stayed there for a week as the guest of the W. R. Hearst Foundation. He stopped for a souvenir photo.
Asmamaw took our photo, and let us take his.
Asmamaw grew up in Ethiopia. He misses the Old Country, yet is grateful to be here. He says it’s only fair for asylum applicants to have lawyers.
Our travels show that DC locals, and tourists, get it. People from Maine to California, from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico, get it.
The get what it takes to be fair to foreigners, to the fearful, to the oppressed.
We saw the White House. We saw the Capitol. We thought of the people who work in those buildings on our behalf. Why don’t they get it?
Americans want to be kind. They tell us so. Yet our leaders talk trash and act mean in our names.
Tomorrow we’ll link DC to the rest of our Rides by tagging up in a neighboring state. And inspired by George Washington, we’ll think more about character.