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As a lover of history and travel, the nation’s capital has always been put high on my pedestal. When I first received news that I’d be going to D.C. for five days, it didn’t seem real. Once I landed at the Ronald Reagan International Airport, though I initially had a hyper moment at the first glimpse of the Washington Monument, I felt an immediate sense of calm and restraint. The temperature is moderate and the scenery is naturally beautiful.

All attendees of the Urban Retreat had accommodations at the pristine Washington Court Hotel, only a few footsteps away from Capitol Hill. We mingled, dined, and explored. But we mostly learned about ourselves, our rights, and our power. The purpose for being in the wonderful city is to make progression for human rights…we covered topics on women and their reproductive rights, sexuality, diversity, self-esteem, sexual health, gender identity, disability, and culture. We had members from as far as Nepal, China, Nigeria, Uganda, and Jamaica. Although most participants were from the USA, it was hard to ignore the regional differences and variety in each group’s experiences. Every individual had their own unique flair to bring to the table and it allowed for us to bond and understand each other.

This experience is one that opened my eyes in many ways – a new found passion was ignited within me and for once, I was around peers who didn’t judge me, but instead motivate and encourage me to pursue what I believe in. To have more than one hundred people from different backgrounds and ways of life, but united for a greater good, was inspiring and unforgettable.