A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin by Atquetzali Quiroz and Ella Simons

Atquetzali Quiroz

Piyali, this is my #ADayintheLife! 🙂 On Monday, June 12th, I began my morning navigating my way to class on the U1 without looking at Google Maps! Throughout the class, we discussed In Audre’s Footsteps: A Transnational Kitchen Table Talk by Dr. Heidi R. Lewis and Dana Maria Asbury with Jazlyn Tate Andrews. Our conversation primarily focused on healing, accountability, and de-centering whiteness. Dr. Lewis and my peers shared impactful insights and stories, specifically highlighting the significance of accountability as a transformative healing practice. As a result, my key takeaway from our dialogue is the importance of personal and communal|collective accountability in our journeys toward healing. The discussion stayed with me throughout the day and prompted me to reflect on what healing and accountability mean for me on a personal level and within my community. I think this conversation is especially important within marginalized communities, because healing and accountability are at the center of liberation. If we are practicing accountability, we are healing along the way. If we are healing, we are taking steps towards liberation. After class, I joined a few friends at a lake about an hour away from our apartment. Although the commute was long, I was excited to be by water, as it is a site of healing for me and my community. I spent most of my time with my feet in the water and enjoying the warmth of the sun. I began to feel a little homesick and knew I needed a pick me up. So, I ended the day by having dinner at the AYAN: Filipino Streetfood Restaurant. I ordered chicken adobo, one of my favorite Filipino dishes (but especially when my Lola or Lolo cooks it). My heart and belly were happy after the meal while listening to background music in Tagalog. Food and music are healing. I am excited to share my experiences in Berlin with my community back home and hoping to continue the conversation on accountability and healing.

Atquetzali Quiroz (she|they) is a rising senior at Colorado College. They are an Indigenous Nahua and Filipinx student from Imnížiska (Saint Paul), Mni Sóta, homeland of the Dakota peoples. Atquetzali is a Feminist and Gender Studies major minoring in Race, Ethnicity, & Migration Studies and Education. They hope to pursue a career as a high school Social Studies educator. They enjoy trying new food, dancing, and seeing new places. As this is Atquetzali’s first time in Europe, they are excited to adventure and make new memories!

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Gabby Rogan and Ella Simons

Welcome to a day in the life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin! Today is Monday, June 12, marking the beginning of the second week of our course. Our first topic of discussion centered around the importance of humility and recognizing we should be careful claiming expertise in areas where others have more diligently worked to earn that distinction. Instead, we should consistently pose questions and avoid disguising confusion with a façade of knowledge. This discussion served as a reminder for me to maintain a critical perspective, acknowledging that as a cis-gender white woman, I can never fully comprehend the experiences and perspectives of marginalized communities, particularly during my short time in Berlin. After class, I visited the Reichstag Building and the Topography of Terror exhibit. On Friday, we explored the multifaceted ways various communities encounter sexism, racism, and other forms of oppression. It became clear that our understanding of these issues is inevitably shaped by our positions in society. This notion resurfaced during my visit to the exhibit after class, following a walk through Tiergarten. The exhibit’s panels, chronologically detailing Berlin’s history during World War II, were positioned atop the remnants of wartime bombings. This juxtaposition offered a powerful reminder that the war, which caused immense destruction and upheaval, occurred not too long ago. It had a devastating impact on countless individuals, particularly Jews, Germans with differing political affiliations who bravely stood against the Nazi party, Sinti and Roma people, disabled people, and so many others. Reflecting on this experience, I was once again reminded of the importance of never presenting a false understanding of complex concepts. It is crucial for us to actively seek out exhibits like the Topography of Terror to gain a deeper comprehension of history. However, we must also acknowledge that even the creators of such exhibits cannot truly grasp the perspective of the Jewish people and the sheer terror they endured due to the racial construction of Judaism.

Ella Simons is a rising junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Environmental Studies at Colorado College. She is from Cambridge, MA and attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. Growing up in Cambridge had a large impact on her perspectives about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ella cares about issues of social justice and wants to eventually work in global democratization efforts.

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