Take Me Out to a Ball Game: Mickeyism, Mentoring, and Memories

Mickeyism #17: Give


I think an internship  is a learning experience, a place to grow, with new skills to gain. For me though, this internship has also included mentorship. Mentoring is something I believe to be as valuable as the other parts. It's important right, to have those who know more to spend the time and give you a bit of their knowledge. For me, it's been everyone in the office but Mr. Mickey Ibarra, high-key wins. 

I am grateful for his patience and kindness and for always going out of his way to give me opportunities. Also for giving me a time of day, for going out of his way and letting me come and talk to him about his life, and about his experiences. So these are some highlights from our conversations. There are way more, but these are a few good ones. 

The 2002 Winter Olympics

I was sitting and chatting with him about the internship, and the talk governor Mitt Romney gave. He let me know about his relationship with Mitt Romney and the 2002 Olympics. During the preparations to the Olympics, it was Mr. Ibarra and others who worked at the White House who helped with the funding and execution of them . It's interesting to see the relationships between federal officials and state officials and how sometimes when they work together awesome things can happen. He was also given a torch from the games as a thank you. It was super cool to hold it and talk to him about his experience and his work with the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

Torch given as a gift to Mr. Ibarra

Airforce One

"I watched Airforce One, on Airforce  with the President" --Mickey Ibarra

Who gets to say that they watched Airforce One with President Clinton? Mr. Mickey Ibarra. There were so many other stories from his days at the White House and every story, intrigued me more. I listen to him and realize how far he has come, both literally and figuratively. He came from small begins in Utah and now has is president of his own public affairs firm after serving as assistant to president Clinton. Pretty awesome experiences that he was able to have at the White House, but I think just as important awesome experiences that he has shared with me and others in the office as well. 

Casual encounters at the West Wing

 

Nats & Bats

So I've never been much into sports but, baseball is pretty interesting! My boss invited me to go watch the Washington Nationals play against the Atlanta Braves. What a fun time! I think the coolest part of the whole game was when Bryce Harper hit his 100th home run, and apparently, get this... it was the first time in history that the 100th home run was a grand slam. So yes, Ciriac witnessed baseball history. No big deal, while eating an authentic Nationals hot dog.

best seats ever

Connecting the dots

-- Poem by yours truly

Connections to the past 

Connections to the present 

Sometimes those who we took towards 

Were already looking back

Were already preparing a way for the future

Just as I am for those to come 

Connections to those before us

reciprocity. respect. rememberance.

connections.

ps. to be a millionare, work hard, and don't give up until you reached your goal. bam. you're welcome ;)

---Ciriac Alvarez

Und.c.mented Contradiction Pt. 2: C’est la vie

“You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, I told him, like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again.”

Today is Thursday, April 7th. As of today, I have 11 days left of my internship. When I first got to Washington DC, I really did not know what to expect. I wanted to learn. I wanted to grow. I wanted a challenge. This has been what I needed: a time spent alone to learn and grow and have the opportunity to step outside of the comfort of Utah. This is the first time I have ever spent so long outside of Utah and lived on my own. It’s a self-realization that no matter where I go, I want to continue fighting and advocating for my immigrant and Latina/o community. So to loop back again to my first post.

*Dang Ciria… back at it again with the contradictions*

Yes. Yes. YAS. Next post will include other insights like how to become a millionaire in three steps. Stay tuned.

1.       Two un-resembling emotions

 It’s strange to have spent a few months, starting to become accustom to the culture in DC only to know that I will be returning to Utah soon. I am both excited and saddened. Both thrilled for what I have learned and sad to know that this phase will be over. These past few months have been a time well spent. If I could, I would definitely come back. Actually I probably will. I have continued to find interest in a few more things, including journalism and working for the Department of Justice or the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Plus, I am applying to a couple of law schools in the East Coast, with American University Washington School of Law being one of them. Yay!

Rooftop sunsets from my apartment

Rooftop sunsets from my apartment

 2. Being connected and alone

Alone.

For the mentors I have received

For the time I spent alone

For the ones I shared

Alone yet Connected.

For the solo adventures I had

For the ones I wished to have my old friends

For the ones I had new companions around

For stepping out of my comfort zones

For staying grounded in my beliefs

Connected.

I feel both of them at the same time. Its strange, yet empowering. While I may feel alone, I do not feel lonely.

Also, stay tuned for a video on this coming soon to a theater or blog post near you!

3. The things I hate, and the things I love—sometimes they are the same thing

  1. Metro

  2. Politics

Okay no but seriously, the metro is either the best thing ever or a reincarnated version of my worst nightmare. Like honestly DC, get it together. Sometimes I fear that the little mice are going to jump out. Other times I feel like the metro shaking means it’s going to derail. Or I am reminded of the 2009 fire on the metro, or the fact that there were wires sticking out at some stations and almost causing more fires.

You’re welcome to everybody who lives in DC and now will be paranoid because of this haha rant over. Wait no okay, the worst is when I'm on time and the metro for some reason is having issues and then I'm late because of it. Now. rant over.

Okay, i guess i don't actually love politics, but I do love keeping up and being informed. Plus I love hearing other points of views on what the government should or should not do. Being in D.C. has been the perfect place to both listen and debate on different issues especially with the 2016 presidential race. 

random bookstores with their judgy quotations 

 

4. Feeling both trapped and freE 

the city makes me feel some type of way. I'm not quite sure if i like it. I mean its always moving, people seem to be always busy, there is always something to do, i love the museums but, there's a sensation of feeling trapped, like a need to get away and back into nature. I miss the mountains. I miss nature. But, being on my own has been some adventure! I learned to cook a few things and set off the fire alarm a couple of times. Woops. Shout outs to my roommates for not judging me. Winona & Maya, you two are awesome. Also, being alone has given me much time to reflect on my future goals and my future adventures. I realize more then ever that I want to continue to visit different places, with different perspectives. 

5. TRYING NEW THINGS OR STICKING TO OLD ONES

I tried new things, new foods, new adventures, some of them I loved and others... I am grateful to say I have done it once. A couple of weeks ago, we went to a concert at the Washington National Cathedral. It is a beautiful cathedral, and the acoustics of the place was beautiful. This is my favorite song from Mozart's Requiem. The program was a full orchestra and choir. It was beautiful. That was money well spent, and I'd definitely do it again. 

The Washington National Cathedral

As for foods, I tried calimari, tastes pretty good. As my friend says, "its the chicken tenders of the sea" haha, we went to Maryland's Ocean City, it was pretty beautiful. I quite have come accustom to adventures like these, I'm going to miss being able to travel to different parts of the East Coast so easily. 

5. Preparing for both Hello's and good bye's

As I am readying myself to say good bye to the friends I have created here, and the connections I have made, I am reminded of the hello's that I have ahead back in Utah, but more so in my future. I have found people here in D.C. who truly care and want to continue helping me in my future endeavors. I hope now more than ever to use the knowledge and connections that I have made to continue fighting for marginalized communities and communities of color. I am not quiet sure I am ready for the future, but then I ask myself, "Is anyone truly ready?" Maybe, maybe not. Either way, the excitement and the joy of what lies ahead is much greater then what I am leaving behind, especially fear, I'll be afraid but do it anyways.

con amor,

ciriac

ps. this is me every single week, I go to art galleries, and museums and let the art speak to me... literally

au revoir

Spring Fever

Today’s post is sponsored by my excitement of the Latino Leaders Luncheon Series and how well the event went last week. If I have learned anything (just an expression because I have actually learned a lot) it would be, what Mr. Ibarra says, “Good events do not happen by accident.”

Helping with registration, preparation and execution of this second event has truly been a highlight of my internship. When I first began, I jumped in and helped the last preparations of the Tribute to Mayors Dinner. This time, I had the opportunity to see an event come together from beginning to end. From watching and learning about invitation distributions, preparing a program and finding bios for the speakers, i saw that the event planning took time and great effort. However, all of the preparation made the event successful. From seeing the way sponsorship relationships are created and maintained, to help the success of an event to being detail oriented about every task, I realize just how much I have learned.

Special shout out to Samantha Lopez for everything she has taught me and for the work ethic that she has. Truly, she has been a wonderful and patient mentor.

At the event last Thursday, March 24th, I got the opportunity to listen to Martin Castro, first Latino Chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights, deliver remarks after receiving the Eagle Leadership Award. I am truly thankful for his work and words. What stuck out to me the most was the time he spent at the detention centers for undocumented migrants awaiting deportation. As he was leaving, there was a young boy who came up and asked, “Sir take me with you.” He said that moment he began to cry, and I connected with him, because the fear of deportation and going back to a place that is unsafe, even at a young age is scary. I truly admire his work to help these families to make sure immigrant issues are addressed. If you want to watch the event or listen to his remarks, click here!

 

This post is also brought to you by the success of the National Education Association's Book Reception for Mr. Ibarra's, Mickeyisms Book. 

It was awesome to see everything come together, but I think it was more awesome to help with the invitation distribution and followups before hand. Mickeyims is such a great read too. It cleverly gives 30 tips for success and to be honest, I think they are all true. You can borrow my copy if you want ;)

Yay for opportunities! Yay for awesome internships! Yay for successful events!

ttyl.

--ciriac

ps. also check out the awesome cherry blossoms

An open letter to Mr. Donald Trump and his supporters

Dear fellow humans,

This election season, I have watched the debates, the polls, the caucuses and primaries unravel from Washington D.C., the land of politics, and the place where everyone gets as excited as I do when we bring up voting.

I have to be honest.

The popularity, the excitement, and the amount of attention Mr. Trump’s campaign has been something I have been observing from the beginning of his campaign. For a long time, and up to this point, I have chosen not to speak, or write about his campaign because I did not want to add to his publicity. Today though, I have realized that I cannot continue to stand silent to this.

I am not afraid of Mr. Trump. His words and his negative views of Mexican people like myself, do not scare me. His plans to deport the 11 million undocumented families living in the US, also doesn’t scare me. Do you want to know what does? The fact that these ideas resonate with so many Americans.

I understand that Mr. Trump “speaks his mind” because he says everything he thinks, even if that means contradicting to a statement he has said in the past. He resonates with the anger and frustration that has been built up from years. Of course, I understand the anger. Scapegoating and having someone to blame, that is understandable and easy. But should we take the easy road? Will letting our actions be led by our anger really accomplish the goal to make “America Great Again?”

Some of us, can answer this and say logically and with full assurance, no. However, I am trying to understand those who would disagree. For those who disagree, and if I ever would have the opportunity to engage with Mr. Trump I would say the following:

"Mr. Donald Trump, my name is Ciriac Alvarez, and I am Mexican. However, I am neither a criminal nor a rapist. I am undocumented, and no I am not “an illegal.” I am human, just like you. Do you believe that all human life has the same value? If so, then my life and who I am should be valued, despite having been born on the other side of the border. I will not urge you nor plead for you to change. However, what I will ask is for one thing."

That one thing is to his supporters. Anger clouds your vision. I ask you all to step back from that. No amount of anger and frustration will “Make America Great” again. Change isn’t easy, and maybe that is hard to swallow. Maybe that’s why Mr. Trump resonates with so many, because he makes everything sound simple. Like if, I were not here, your life would be better and if the Muslim community was also gone, things would be better.

But as your support resonates with the past, remember that ‘we the people’ does not mean “some” the people. That means all Americans right? I too am American and the only thing missing is a piece of paper. I wish you all the best and hope that you know we’ll keep fighting to help you see. May your anger be lessened and your view cleared.

My regards,

Ciriac Alvarez

D.C. chillin' live update fam.

*Queue Eminem*

*Queue Ciria in shades*

Guess who’s back…? back again… Ciria is back… back again…

Yo Fam.

These past few weeks have been lit.

EL I TEE LIT. LIT.

You’re right. You’re right.

I am a professional working in a professional setting and shall adhere to speaking in the most formal way possible… for the most part.

I think there is too much to say for one post so we shall start in the best place, the end. It’s been quite the fun time at work these past few weeks. This past week especially, I have been able to assist in an event for “Mickeyisms” a book where Mr. Mickey Ibarra shares his thirty tips for success. The event is in a couple of weeks and everyone has been RSVPing to me. I can’t wait to see the event happen! It will be with the National Education Association, where Mr. Ibarra first came to DC to do his internship. So crazy to think that his career started as an intern there, and later helped him to where he is today.

The other event the Latino Leaders Network is preparing for is the Latino Leaders Luncheon Series, where we will be honoring Marty Castro, Commissioner on Civil Rights. Remember him? I embarrassed myself in front of him. Haha woops.

This internship, these months have been flying by. It is already March. I can’t believe it. In a month and a half, I’ll be back in Utah. I have to be honest, I don’t know if I’m ready to go back. This city has taken a hold of a special place in my heart.

Working with the Ibarra Strategy Group has given me the opportunity to attend a number of events. They have all been super fun and really interesting to meet those who are leading organizations that I have followed and learned about from a grassroots perspective. I have also gotten the chance to talk to Latina/o leaders personally, about the work they are doing because of this internship. I even met the Rhode Island's Secretary of State. Thanks to Mr. Ibarra, I have been able to learn from these leaders and continue to aspire to be like them and continue the work they have begun.

Mr. Ibarra, RI Secretary of State, Nellie Gorbea, and me, casually.

Not only that, but I was given the opportunity to attend the National Education Association Foundation Gala. It was a beautiful time. They even honored a teacher from Utah! The event was MC'd by Esai Morales. I loved it. The work the teachers are doing and the difference they are making in the lives of these tiny humans. 

Samantha and I, at the NEA Foundation Gala. 

There was a briefing from the Aspen Institution I attended, where they talked about the importance of the Latina/o vote. As this election continues to unfold, I have seen more than ever how crucial the Latina/o vote is, not only because of the number of eligible Latina/o voters, but also because of the negative rhetoric that continues to persist from candidates. That day I got the opportunity to meet the co-founder and director of United We Dream! United We Dream has continued to be at the front of the fair immigration reform movement from rallying for the DREAM Act to advocating for the DACA program. Here’s a picture, because “pics or it didn’t happen,” right?

Cristina Jimenez & I, Co-founder and Managing Director

Oh also, I visited North Carolina because.. why not?

Well my coworkers are spontaneous bunch, who have taught me that sometimes you have to try things. Something that will stick with me past this internship is their philosophy of trying everything once.

Try it once, if you don’t like it, then don’t do it again. If you do, then do it again.

We went for barbeque, walked around Raleigh and even walked around Duke University. I actually really liked the campus, I will probably end up applying to their law school. Sure, we could have eaten here in DC, sure we could have walked around this city, but its about the experience. I could have barbeque anywhere but, it won’t be the same as going to an authentic place in North Carolina surrounded by their small town vibe. So yes, now I can cross North Carolina off my list of states I have visited.

OMG. But get this. When we drove past Richmond Virginia, we saw a crime scene. There were two people who had been recently killed, and we saw police officers drape black sheets over their bodies. That was a reality check. Richmond was a very sad place to drive past. There seemed to be a loss of joy there. We drove over a bridge with a river that was filled with everything but water. The water was so murky. I mean we talk about inequality and how some places are affected more than others but as we drove by the schools, the churches, the “family friendly” places, it all seemed gloomy. You could feel it in the air, the despair, and the people themselves looked like they gave up hope. It is moments like this that remind me to continue the work of creating change for historically marginalized people. Sure, maybe I can’t change the world, but if I can help create a better place for one person, one life, that in itself is worth every effort.

Cheers to more post

Stay lit fam.

*puts shades back on and walks away*

--ciria

ps. Here are some pics of my other adventures because i've reached my word count limit for this post. (not really though). the last one, yeah that's a real mariachi ; 

more to come though. promise;;

Sorry... Not Sorry

My supervisor has helped me come to the realization that I need to stop apologizing for the things that I have no control over, for things I did not do wrong, and for everything. I never realized how many times I do, until now. So today I say Sorry, for the last time for something I did not do wrong. Hashtag NOT sorry.

So by now you're probably wondering, "hey ciria. where have you been? why havent you posted? how are you?" to answer these questions, I would like to tell you the tragic story of the sacrifice to the potomac river. 

it was a quiet day in Virginia, where some friends and i decided to visit the great falls national park. We hiked around in the cold for a few miles. what a view. what a view! the sounds of the river, too, so loud and so majestic. seriously! so there we are. there i am. enjoying the view. where what do we spot! two rafters. "AHOYYYY, Mateys!" With birds flying over us,we stopped and watched as these rafters climbed down from the rocks on the other end of the river. as angry as the river seemed, they got in. can you believe it?! they actually went into the Potomac river.

IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. super awesome adrenaline junkies i have to say. so what is ciria to do? well cheer them on of course. we watched as they rafted there way, or should i say, as they crashed into every wave and angry backlash the river threw at them. we watched in  suspense, hoping with all we knew that they got all the way to their destination, the rocks about a few miles down.

crash. oh no, hes under water.

silence.

waves, white water, crash, crash. where are they?!

crash, more water, wait. there it is.

his raft, slightly deteriorating yellow, popped out. yasss. (not yes, but yasss, say it that way it changes your life). there, they kept at it. as the water crashed into them, they took it head on. finally, finally. they made it. woooo. wooo. WOOOOO. what a rush. i felt so proud, and i didn't event know them! so what does this have to do with the sacrifice? well, well, well, as you see. ciria is a dare devil too. she likes the rush. the adrenaline. so we walked down a bit more. to an area where the river meets the boulders, and there is no "safety" features, its just you vs. nature.

So my friend Isael and i were taking pictures. I got a super cool picture of him! like i should be a photographer and that picture is proof. he was so excited and realized he could take an awesome picture too. i accepted, and placed my phone in my pocket. i got really close to the edge of the boulders because that was going to get the best shot. so i look out into the river, when bam. i'm too close. wu-oh. then the potomac river gods boomed "WE DEMAND A SACRIFICE" "NOOOO" i screamed, and all that was heard was four clinks. clink. clink.clink. 

isael. the potomac river. the sky. (not the famous awesome picture)

Isael: What was that?

Me: Nooooo

Isael: wait was that

Mel: noooo

Isael: that was, wasnt it?

Me: nooooo

Isael: its okay to cry.

Me: noooo, 

we both got to the edge again and looked down. rip iphone six. you may never be found, but your sacrifice will forever be thanked.

So basically, I have spent a few weeks without my phone. It actually was very nice, very calming and very quiet. I enjoyed it, except I also felt very disconnected from home. So to answer the questions. I have been well. I have been roaming the city of dc for the past few weeks and i haven't posted because, I did not have a coherent post. so this is the most non-cohorent. most un-planned and poorly structure post you've probably ever read. but that's life right? some things are planned and others are just part of a great misadventure that end up creating beautiful moments that we'll always keep in our hearts.

brb.

Sorry. not sorry for the post, for the randomness. for being me.

seriously though, i'll post again soon

-ciriac.

Und.c.umented contradiction pt 1

hello.

it is quite curious to me  as i  find myself in this new space.

i never imagined myself with the opportunity to come to DC

a stranger in a strange land of decisions. 

undocumented

def:

not having the appropriate legal documents or lacking proper documentation. also constantly referred to as: DREAMER

less then 20 minutes from congressmen who want me out.

what a beautiful contradiction this is though, at least in my opinion.

I am but a contradiction of hope and cynicism, of trust and skepticism, stitched from dreams and reality

but i am not the only contradiction here.

Rule one:

be okay with being alone around so many people. mind your own business but enjoy all the events. 

What a rush of emotions everything has been so far. This is the first time I have ever been away from home, away from my family, away from the comfort of Utah. To be honest with you, I kind of just jumped on the plane and did not think about what moving away really meant. It has meant learning to cook, learning to ride the metro as a directionally challenged individual, and learning to be okay when I am alone, but not feeling lonely. 

What a beautiful reality and breath of fresh air this has been;

Rule two:

pay attention to detail; but don't miss the forest over a tree. 

I have never realized how little I pay attention to detail until now. It something that sets you apart though. During the first event, I saw first hand what the result of this is. Making sure everything was accounted for, putting a logo on every sheet, single sided papers, using the same font, re-reading and editing,  and triple checking everything made a difference. Seeing the event come together after two weeks of phone calls, name tag making, and preparation was so worth all the work. 

Seeing the whole picture, seeing the event come together, seeing things from afar and up close was the best part. Much like the Washington Monument, it is beautiful from both a distance and up close. 

Cloudy days are lovely days.

Rule three:

take it all in; try to soak it all up but, make sure you finish the job.

Michael B. Hancock, the honored Mayor and recipient of the Antonio Villaraigosa award, is one reason why I have loved DC so far. As he quoted MLK Jr. and spoke about the work of communities working together he alluded to the friendship of Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr. It was an honor to listen to him  alongside the presence of mayors from around the country.

While I was able to enjoy the event but, I also helped with the registration portion of the event. I stayed outside during the first part of the event to make sure guests who came in late were registered and knew where to go.

One mayor in particular told me I was doing a good job, and told me not to give up because, "we all started off as interns."

It was not too bad, until I got a "fan girl" moment. how embarrassing.

 I asked for the last name of Marty Castro, U.S. Commissioner on Civil Rights. I realized it was him and too excitedly exclaimed "OH MY YOUR MARTY CHAVEZ" . and he chuckled, "yes I am." Then his assistant asked why I didn't get as excited when I saw him and I realized that I should have taken it down a notch. Oh my, I did not expect to talk to him. He gave me his business card after the event and told me to email him if I ever need anything. Needless to say him and I are pretty close. 

Here is what I got from Mayor Hancock's words, but if you want to see it for yourself; go for it. Click aqui

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

I see now more than ever, the interconnections of it all. The shared pain, the shared destruction. Our actions, our feelings, our motives, all of it; intertwined by each other. Our perspectives and sometimes selfish desires can painfully create a series of restlessness trigger of events, the misunderstandings fueling a hateful spite. It's painful you know, to watch and piece together an understanding of political action. But, leaders, and the work of groups like the Latino Leaders Network and Mayor Michael B. Hancock give me hope. 

Rule 4:

have fun; and work hard. succeed and achieve but let the mistakes teach you.

I got a special shout out from my boss, and that was an amazing moment. To be honest, I felt as if all of my confidence was left in Utah. I did not think I was doing well, and I felt as if I had been making too many mistakes. I did not double check a folder I made and gave it that way, only to have it brought back. It was kind of ironic because i said to myself, "hey you're gonna' kill it here" and then she brought it back and that is a lesson I'll never forget. TRIPLE CHECK EVERYTHING.

 Apparently though, I am the only one who thought I made too many mistakes. I am really hard on myself, I have accepted that this is who I am as a person. However, I'm glad to be welcomed into ISG the way Mr. Ibarra did, publicly and proudly. It only confirms that I made the right decision to come to D.C. and intern with them. I am excited for what the rest of this semester will bring.

NOTE TO SELF: You good. You poppin'

Intense intern in D.C. by day; adventure seeker by night.

Two weeks in. Thirteen to go. 

---ciriac. 

ps. more rules to come. 

pss. I love writing, sketches, new ideas and chicken tenders but most of all, adventures . Here is to a no particularly scheduled blog.