Evan Virtue, '25
Washington, DC contains hundreds of cultures that shape its residents’ lives. In our corner of the District, there are a multitude of places where different customs are embraced and shared. If you take a trip down Massachusetts Avenue, you can see the many embassies, an Islamic Center, and even a Sikh Gurdawa. This is only a small glimpse into the wide array of cultures in Washington.
In other parts of the District, one can find festivals and celebrations of all kinds. Among the most popular cultural celebrations are the Chinese New Year, Cherry Blossom Festival, and Fiesta DC. All of these events help to promote and highlight the traditions and heritage of our neighbors in the District, but sometimes the best display of cultures can come from observing what is not formally presented. The many music venues in Washington such as The Anthem or the 9:30 Club display some of the most popular music in the world; however, you can experience go-go music, the official music of Washington, DC, at smaller joints such as DC Gogo. Furthermore, PorchFest DC, starting on October 2, features local musicians from throughout the District playing on the porches of the houses in Adams Morgan and Southeast DC. These are a few examples of how one can get the ultimate cultural experience from a small place off the beaten path.
The scores of people that inhabit DC are the true bearers of the culture. Whether it is talking with a friend about their traditions or learning about certain lifestyles, the best way to learn about culture in DC is engaging with people who bring their gifts to the District and are open to sharing their history. When people from all different identities come together, they want to have their voice heard and their culture recognized.
It is safe to say that Washington, DC is a fusion of many different cultures. There are people from all walks of life everywhere, including St. Albans. With the high level of diversity in Washington, it is inevitable that St. Albans is a gathering place for cultural exploration and expression. Students from around the District and the world attend St. Albans and bring their cultures to the very halls in which we walk. Since St. Albans is a junction of many backgrounds, it is important for those in the community to recognize and learn about cultures different than their own.
St. Albans works with its students to have their voices heard and their cultures and traditions recognized. Whether through learning about different religious holidays in Chapel or embracing our differences in alliance groups, the students at St. Albans become informed about the backgrounds of all students. The first step to being an ally and building community is becoming educated. By attending the local festivals in the District or going to alliance meetings at school, you can gain helpful knowledge that is not only fascinating, but which will help you be a better friend and ally. The District has so much to offer, and it is up to you to go out and explore.