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National Mall


Sen. Cory Booker. D-N.J., receives his honorary degree at Commencement in May. He gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention with similar themes to his address at GW. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Sen. Cory Booker. D-N.J., receives his honorary degree at Commencement in May. He gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention with similar themes to his address at GW. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Callan Tansill-Suddath. 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” Sen. Cory Booker, D–N.J. said quoting an African proverb at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Monday. But he said it at GW’s Commencement ceremony first.

Booker delivered an impassioned plea to convention attendees to join together in the fight for justice and equality for all Americans after voicing his support for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In his speech, he echoed many of the sentiments that captivated the Class of 2016 on the National Mall in May.

Here are some of the speeches’ similarities:

1. Focusing on young Americans

Booker began his speech Monday with examples of progress in the U.S. to inspire young voters and inspire hope. He made a point of noting that many of the foundations the country was built on are damaged, but each generation has the chance to repair those damages.

The message paralleled that from his Commencement address, in which he told graduates that their “nation is calling” them to make a difference.

2. Resist complacency

On Monday, Booker also encouraged Americans to take a more active role in fighting against injustice. He emphasized the need to respect all Americans, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. People who benefit from the systems in place in the country should use their voices to fight for those who are oppressed, he said.

In May, Booker similarly told graduates to change the world, not reflect it.

“Will we be people who react to the world or will we be individual lights who say, ‘No matter how tough it gets, no matter how dark it gets, I am going to ignite myself and show my truth blossoming where I am?’,” he asked graduates.  

3. A nation of love

The most striking similarity between the two speeches was Booker’s emphasis on the importance of love and how U.S. citizens should strive to create a nation of love, rather than one of tolerance.

“Tolerance says, ‘I’m just going to stomach your right to be different. That if you disappear from the face of the earth, I’m no better or worse off. But love, love knows that every American has worth and value,’” Booker said at the DNC.

At Commencement, Booker said the U.S. isn’t “linked by love,” and encouraged graduates to show compassion.

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Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 7:24 p.m.

‘Drug war’ vigil held on the National Mall

“Catharsis on the Mall: A Vigil for Healing the Drug War” was held on the National Mall this weekend, culminating in the burning of a structure on Saturday night in front of the Washington Monument.

The structure, known as the “Temple of Essence,” was designed to be a “peace-building structure that offers a space for healing personal and collective trauma, engaging community, and allowing the release of negative energy,” according to a press release about the event.

“It’s about expressing our frustration with the war on drugs and the societal trauma it causes,” John Christian Menocal, an organizer for the event, said.

Video by Luca Silveira

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Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 2:17 p.m.

Autism Speaks hosts walk on National Mall

On Saturday, the national autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks hosted their 15th annual “Walk Now for Autism Speaks” on the National Mall. The event was organized to fundraise and spread awareness about autism.

“It’s a great opportunity for families that are affected by autism to come together and realize that they’re not alone,” Kate Johnson, senior policy coordinator at Autism Speaks, said.

Video by Randala Abraham and Keren Carrion

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Monday, May 18, 2015 8:00 a.m.

Early summer concerts calling your name

Drake and The Strokes may be coming to the National Mall this fall, but there are plenty of shows to catch before September. Give yourself a few nights to look forward to early this summer by buying concert tickets before they sell out and you’re stuck shelling out your hard-earned cash on StubHub.

Purity Ring: May 29 (early and late shows) at 9:30 Club
If the eerie intro of “stillness in woe,” the breathy lovesickness of “heartsigh” or the lyrically honest “push pull” don’t convince you to spend May 29 with Purity Ring, nothing will. Every song on their second album, “another eternity” was made to be played live.

The February release received mixed reviews from “a collection of aggressively polyglot dance pop you wouldn’t be surprised to find on Taylor Swift’s iPod” to “stark tracks that find a middle ground between lustrous synth pop and…plush, cavernous hip-hop.”

The Canadian duo is a sparkling gem in a sea of bland electro-indie-pop with its melodious consistency and swelling bridges – and be sure to listen for “Fineshrine” off their 2012 album.

Rusted Root: June 3 at 9:30 Club
Five words: “Send Me On My Way.”

There are few things seemingly lamer than a ‘90s band from Pittsburgh. Rusted Root is part jam-band, part tribal-funk and the band often sings about religion, but its musical oddities are part of its charm. The band took a seven-year hiatus in the mid-2000s before releasing “The Movement” with acoustic songs like “Fossil Man” and “Monkey Pants.”

The band never received national attention like it did after “Send Me On My Way” dropped in 1994, and even then, the song wasn’t a huge hit. It was only after it played in films like “Matilda” in 1996 as well as the first “Ice Age” that Rusted Root earned some acclaim.

A-Trak: June 11 at U Street Music Hall
Alain Macklovitch, also known as A-Trak, is the owner of Fool’s Gold Records, a Brooklyn-based record label that represents artists from Kid Cudi to Duck Sauce to Sweet Valley.

The story goes that when Macklovitch was 22 in 2004, Kanye West was so impressed by his skills in a London record store that he invited him on his North American tour. Since then, A-Trak has mixed for MSTRKRFT, Lupe Fiasco and Boys Noize. His shows are massive parties and his beats sound like Major Lazer but a little smoother and like Skrillex with a little more hip-hop.

And with lyrics like, “Got your bitch flipping like a gymnast/She told me take your glasses off but she looks horrendous,” how could you not be charmed?

Best Coast: June 16 at 9:30 Club
There are plenty of good reasons to stay in D.C. over the summer, but sand between your toes is not one of them. Insert Best Coast, the lo-fi duo that radiates sunshine and seems to wear a faint, California kush perfume everywhere they go.

Lead singer Bethany Cosentino, whose Instagram reveals her to be a normal twenty-something who loves her cat, Drake and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” puts on a show that feels so intimate, it feels like you’re sitting around her pool in L.A., sipping Bloody Marys and listening to “Know Yourself” over her speakers.

The band released its third full-length album, “California Nights,” two weeks ago. One reviewer compared it to “a needy, narcissistic LA teen in an ironic Avril Lavigne T-shirt who loiters around the house” and a Pitchfork review noted the love-it-or-loathe-it nature of Cosentino’s simple lyrics and guitar riffs. You just have to get it.

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Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt, performed during the Global Citizen Festival on the National Mall on Saturday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt, performed during the Global Citizen Festival on the National Mall on Saturday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Victoria Sheridan.

The National Mall attracted more than just the typical tourist crowd Saturday as thousands attended the fourth annual Global Citizen Festival near the Washington Monument.

Part-music festival and part-environmental rally, the free event, hosted by and journalist Soledad O’Brien, featured celebrities and politicians promoting initiatives to end poverty by the year 2030 and reduce climate change.

Fall Out Boy performed during the six-hour show, which was also an environmental rally. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Fall Out Boy performed during the six-hour show, which was also an environmental rally. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

In spite of the 80-degree heat, headliners like Mary J. Blige, Train and Fall Out Boy kept the audience on its feet with electrifying performances throughout the six-hour show, which also commemorates the upcoming 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.

In between musical performances, activists and world leaders took to the stage urging spectators to support various causes by pressuring elected officials, donating money and signing petitions. They touched on topics like clean drinking water and sustainable living. Celebrities who delivered speeches included actors Don Cheadle, Freida Pinto and Bonnie Wright.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde appeared after their policy meetings to thank the crowd for its efforts.

“This morning, 188 ministers of finance and governors of central banks were at the IMF, and they heard a big noise and it was you,” Lagarde said, “Because they heard you and because they will continue to hear you, they are committed to the cause of ending poverty and financing development.”

Usher was recovering from a broken foot, and used a golden crutch during his performance. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Usher was recovering from a broken foot, and used a golden crutch during his performance. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Although he was recovering from a broken foot, headliner Usher still performed his signature dance moves to pop hits like “OMG” and “Yeah.” His set also featured performances from rapper Common and EDM artist Martin Garrix.

“One foot don’t stop no show,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world. This is all about love, hope, togetherness, peace.”

Limping on a golden crutch in between songs, he reminded the audience to work together while trying to end poverty, before delivering soulful covers of The Beatles’ “Come Together” and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

The final act of the evening was No Doubt, re-energizing the crowd with its upbeat reggae-infused tracks like “Just a Girl,” “Hey Baby,” and “Sunday Morning,” during which lead singer Gwen Stefani leapt into the crowd to greet screaming fans.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Samuel Pfister.

Crowds decked out in American flag apparel set up on the National Mall as early as 6 a.m. Tuesday for the evening’s free Concert for Valor, which drew an estimated 800,000 people to salute U.S. veterans.

The crowd took over the National Mall, from the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument, awaiting an all-star lineup of performers and celebrities from Metallica to Carrie Underwood and even “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston.

Jumbotrons lined the Mall for viewers too far from the stage – those who didn’t beat the early morning rush were stationed nearly a mile away from the action.

The Veterans Day show kicked off at 7 p.m. with Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of the National Anthem, followed by a cover version of David Guetta’s “Titanium,” which Hudson performed as a duet with pop singer Jessie J.

Other performances included a rock and roll set by David Grohl of the Foo Fighters. Country/folk group the Zac Brown Band was joined by rock icon Bruce Springsteen to cover Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hit “Fortunate Son.”

When Metallica took the stage to play a charged version of “Enter Sandman,” Gulf War veteran Harrison Brown recalled listening to the band while serving in the war.

“I listened to Metallica when I was fighting in Iraq. That’s what got me through the day,” he said. “Now instead of me cheering on at a Metallica concert, Jimmy Hetfield was here cheering me on.”

The Black Keys took the stage to perform tracks like “Fever” and “Lonely Boy.” Lead vocalist Dan Auerbach danced around stage, livening the crowd with his masterful guitar solos.

Between pop hits, Springsteen returned to play acoustic tracks, including a delta-blues, slide-guitar style performance of “Born in the U.S.A.”

The night’s performances were capped off with crowd favorites Rihanna and Eminem, who performed duets like “Monster.” The final song of the night was Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

Each artist paid tribute to America’s veterans, such as Grohl, who said, “We’ve got a lot of heroes here tonight,” before playing an acoustic version of the Foo Fighter’s “My Hero.”

Between each act, celebrities including Will Smith and Oprah Winfrey presented short videos that offered a look into the lives of veterans like David Oclander, a retired Army veteran who now serves as a teacher and said he’s using his military experience to help students become leaders.

Powerful performances by the nation’s music stars dominated the night, but a sense of patriotism was abuzz, as the crowds dispersed singing the National Anthem.

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Video by Hatchet videographer Deepa Shivaram and multimedia editor Diana Marinaccio.

Kappa Sigma held its third annual Shave Away Cancer event Saturday on the National Mall in conjunction with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Wahl Clippers.

The event raised more than $30,000 for childhood cancer research after over 100 students shaved their heads for the cause. The fraternity hopes to match that contribution with another $30,000 online this week.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014 8:24 p.m.

Weekend Commencement events and ceremonies

Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

Commencement week is packed with events for graduates, families and faculty. The University has compiled them all, but if you don’t want to scroll through the schedule, here’s a condensed list of some of the largest celebrations and ceremonies.

FRIDAY, May 16

8:30 a.m. – Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Master’s and Doctoral Programs Celebration in the Smith Center, 600 22nd St. NW. Tickets are required. The event features student speaker Maggie Unverzagt Goddard, an American Studies major, and faculty speaker David Karpf, an assistant professor of media and public affairs.

David Shambaugh, the speaker for Photo courtesy of the Elliot School of International Affairs.

David Shambaugh, the speaker for the Elliot School of International Affairs celebration. Photo courtesy of the Elliot School.

11:30 a.m. – Elliott School of International Affairs Celebration in the Smith Center. Tickets are required. Speakers include David Shambaugh, professor of political science and international affairs, and student speaker Max Sanders.

3:00 p.m. – Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony in Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. This event, honoring students in the top 10 percent of their senior class, is invitation only and tickets are required.

3:30 p.m. – School of Business Undergraduate, Master of Business Administration and Doctoral Celebration in the Smith Center. Tickets are required.

7:30 p.m. – School of Engineering and Applied Science Celebration in the Smith Center. Tickets are required and you should hand in a copy of your graduation survey in order to pick them up from the dean’s office in room 106 of Thompkins Hall.

Irene R. Foster, speaker at the first ceremony for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Photo courtesy of the Department of Economics.

Irene Foster, faculty speaker at the first ceremony for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Photo courtesy of the Department of Economics.


12:00 p.m. – Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Degree Programs Celebration No. 1  in
the Smith Center. Tickets will be distributed in Phillips Hall, room 209 on Friday from 12 to 4 p.m. The celebration will include speeches from distinguished scholar and speaker Brandon Aversano, an American Studies major, and assistant professor of economics Irene Foster.

3:30 p.m. – Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Degree Programs Celebration No. 2  in the Smith Center. Tickets will be distributed in Phillips Hall, room 209 on Friday from 12 to 4 p.m. For this second ceremony, the distinguished scholar and speaker is Alexandra Kralick, a biological Anthropology major, and the faculty speaker will be Melani McAlister, associate professor of American Studies and international affairs.

Hatchet File Photo.

José Andrés, the University-wide Commencement speaker. Hatchet File Photo.

SUNDAY, May 18

9:30 a.m. – University-wide Commencement on the National Mall, between 7th and 14th streets. All schools come together on the Mall for University-wide commencement, featuring keynote speaker José Andrés. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Make sure to check the weather: It rained during last year’s ceremony.

2:30 p.m. – Law School Celebration in the Smith Center. Keynote speaker and alumnus Bruce Sewell is Apple’s general counsel and senior vice president of legal and government Affairs.

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Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 6:29 p.m.

The Bionic Man comes to D.C.

National Air and Space Museum, where the bionic man will make an appearance tomorrow. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

National Air and Space Museum, where the bionic man will make an appearance tomorrow. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Maddy Pontz.

You may get a glimpse at humanity’s future tomorrow.

The world’s first entirely bionic man will walk the D.C. streets Friday at 10 a.m.. He’ll walk near the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, putting his implantable synthetic organs and entirely bionic body parts to use for the first time ever.

This scene straight out of a science fiction film will, in fact, be used as a part of a new documentary set to air Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel, delving deeper into the story of this frighteningly human-like robot.

The Incredible Bionic Man (as he is being called) is worth billions of dollars in research.

So, if you happen upon a bionic man while jogging on the Mall tomorrow, don’t fear. It is not the beginning of some sort of robot-driven apocalypse – it just might be the next step in human evolution.

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Thousands gathered on the National Mall on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Delaney Walsh | Photo Editor

Hatchet staff writer Rachel Smilan-Goldstein recounts her experience at the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action ceremony Wednesday, which celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the March for Jobs and Freedom.

On a day meant to commemorate a historic moment in the ongoing struggle for equality, one barrier remained unwavering between spectators and the reflecting pool: a white security tent.

Thousands gathered Wednesday at the 17th Street entrance of the National Mall, squeezed between the Washington Monument and World War II Memorial, only to wait for hours before passing through an unsubstantial security checkpoint.

The mass of bodies could not be described as a line, instead resembling a mob as the rain poured down on the muggy late-August morning. The heat was sweltering, and we stood for hours.

Within the crowd, people shouted for medics. An elderly man was helped out of the masses; a young woman knelt above the ground before fainting, vomiting and losing consciousness. At least five other people left for medical attention.

And with no access to water or bathrooms, many people abandoned their spots in the crowd for basic necessities.

Despite the dangers and inconveniences of the security process, many attendees remained in high spirits. As they inched closer to the security tent, they joked loudly about reaching the “Promised Land” on the other side and “crossing the Mason-Dixon line.”

Along the way, guards held true to their promise to confiscate a number of items. One man in the crowd lamented giving up his two metal water bottles and a Swiss army knife. A woman was devastated as guards took her over-sized sign denouncing the death of Trayvon Martin. As she complained, guards told her that she could keep the sign but would have to sacrifice her hours of waiting. With thousands waiting for her to make a decision, she tore off part of the poster and proceeded onto the Mall.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s representative in Congress, called the security check point an “organizational breakdown.” She wrote in a letter to the Secret Service that D.C. Fire and EMS had to attend to more then 100 people, and some were hospitalized.

“As a result of your poor planning and execution, many were unable to attend and participate in the event altogether,” Norton wrote in the letter she sent Thursday to Secret Service Director Julia Pierson. “There is no doubt that the many failures could have been prevented.”

In 1963, there were no metal detectors, no bag searches, no pat downs. Instead, those rallying for civil rights across the country faced threats of police dogs and fire hoses, or worse.

The security feats average citizens had to overcome Wednesday illuminate the changed world in the wake of the events of the 1960s and more recent years. The cumulative impacts of tragedies ranging from the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. to 9/11 to the Boston bombing haven’t changed the “why,” but “how” we march on Washington.

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