Week 4: Two Walks Down the National Mall

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Sunday, June 26, 2022


Matangi Melpakkam

I could not speak about this past week without first acknowledging the overturning of Roe v. Wade by SCOTUS, thus ending federal protection of abortion after almost fifty years. When I heard the news Friday morning, I felt shock, grief, and anger. Although I was initially inclined to rush to the Supreme Court to protest, I walked there instead. I trod along the National Mall for a somber hour as tourists laughed around me. Along my path from the Lincoln memorial to the Supreme Court, I came across many monuments, and felt surprise that my outrage was yet to pervade those standing around them. As I reached the Supreme Court, I stood to the side in my grief and watched the protests, at a loss to do much else. The decision has remained on my mind since, and I mostly now feel fear and uncertainty for the future.

My other experience along the Mall was much more exciting. On Saturday, we interns hosted booths at the Astronomy on the Mall event. Div and I hosted the Trivia and Boomwhackers tables, and it was nice to engage with all the children and adults that stopped by. After, Lucy, Justin, Div, and I walked down the Mall to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. It was incredible to see various Tamil artifacts from the 12th century Chola Dynasty.

This week at FYI, I started reading budgets. While for most this is a detested task, and I expected as much, I found it rather fun! I enjoyed, if anything, the drama and intrigue of seeing which programs got more funding than others. For example, even though NIST’s budget was purportedly increased, most of the money goes to non-NIST programs, and boy are they sad about it! There was a surprising amount of news in those budget reports.

I also made scones with Nicole, took a picture with Bill Nye, saw the Second City comedy troupe, and read some books.

Matangi Melpakkam