About the Author
Juliana is a proud Colombian raised in the city of Medellin. She graduated from the University of Miami in 2016 and is currently working in the DMV area. Juliana loves FOOD, traveling, and volunteering in charities.. eventually she would like to go to law school or graduate school.

Millennial Travel Guide: A Day Trip To Washington D.C.

Recently, I moved near Washington DC from South Florida.

My friend and I decided to go and tour around the city.

Here’s what we saw.

Fruitive DC City Center

We decided to start our tour by stopping at this local restaurant named Fruitive located at the City Center in DC.

It was delicious!

In my opinion, it is a little pricey but definitely healthy and we felt satisfied after, they use organic ingredients as well.

Side Walk in front of Museums

We started walking right in front of the museums and realized how pretty this sidewalk looked!

It looks like a post card, we thought the cherry blossoms were going to be a thing this year, but no.

This photo was taken right before the snowstorm.

Our first stop was the Lincoln Memorial; inside the temple you will see a massive statue of the 16th President of the United States- ole Honest Abe.

This monument always catches my eye, who would’ve thought that it took more than 50 years for a memorial of Lincoln to built and opened to the public!

Lincoln Memorial: “ In this temple as in the hearts of the people for who he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever”

Next, we walked by the sidewalk leading to the Washington Monument.

I thought this view was breathtaking.

I also leaned over to see how deep the water is in the reflecting pool. (it’s not that deep).

The Washington Memorial.

You are normally allowed to go up inside the Washington Monument, but it is currently closed because of elevator renovations.

This monument was built to honor George Washington, the first President of the United States.

You can see this monument almost from anywhere, its just like the Eiffel tower in Paris- impossible to miss.

The Trump Hotel.

The Trump International Hotel located a few blocks away from the White House in the Old Post Office building is now one of the most elite and priciest hotels to stay at, one night stays range from $572 to $20,000.

People stop and take photos here constantly and I have to admit that I couldn’t resist doing the same.

Next we went across town to the Library of Congress, I felt like I was in a Harry Potter movie.

The building, located across the street from the US Capitol Building is so pretty and huge.

According to the tour guides, it is one of the largest libraries in the world.

The main reading room is open to the public- but you have to get a library card first.

The Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill. It has research material for more than 450 languages.

The Library of Congress is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill. It has research material in more than 450 languages.

Finally, to end our day we went to the Jefferson Memorial, it was my first time there and I loved it!

Thomas Jefferson of course was the author of “The Declaration of Independence”.

The monument is on the banks of the Tidal Basin of the Potomac River adorned with Japanese cherry trees (cherry blossoms).

The Jefferson Memorial.

Read More: Millennial Travel Guide: A Day Trip To Ireland’s Majestic Cliffs Of Moher


RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Photo Credits:  Juliana Carvajal Yepes

So What The Hell Is Going On In Colombia?

The conflict in Colombia between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla movement has been present in the lives of millions for over 52 years.

This armed conflict has not only severely affected the country in terms of violence but has also brought detrimental social and economic consequences.

The current Colombian administration took important steps into achieving a peace settlement, but after a plebiscite the Colombian people decided they would not agree on the terms of the agreement the government had negotiated.

This is what you need to know about Colombia and the current situation in regards to the peace process with the FARC:

FARC- Who are they?

The seeds of the FARC was started in 1953 when Colombia had a dictator as a leader called Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. (The group was officially founded 11 years later in 1964.)

Pinilla was against the liberal guerrillas (a group that favored the federalist system) and he was constantly attacking these groups.

Read More: Is This South Africa’s Tiananmen Square Moment?

As a consequence, self-defense groups formed and they “sought to protect themselves from the action of government militaries” (Leach 2011). These groups believed in a greater justice for the field.

While the FARC was at first ideologically motivated, it became more than that- involved in drug running and kidnappings to name a few.

A cache of FARC weapons collected by the government in 2013. Photo Credit: Policía Nacional de los colombianos/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A cache of FARC weapons collected by the government in 2013. Photo Credit: Policía Nacional de los colombianos/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The FARC-EP is still fighting 52 years later and as the years have gone by they have started to utilize terrorist tactics and commit gross violations of human rights, they also profit from the illicit drug trade.

Peace Negotiations and the October Plebiscite

In 2012, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that he was going to initiate peace talks with the FARC; his goals were to end the conflict.

President Santos’ strategy for implementing a peace process with the FARC had major differences compared to the ones made by former Presidents Pastrana and Uribe.

Scholars such as Meuci noted that there were three major differences of the peace negotiations that took place in La Habana, Cuba:

1) The Colombian Government was negotiating in a strong position because the FARC was extremely weak, 2) Venezuela and other neighboring countries were taken into account, 3) the peace process had a pre-negotiation stage in 2011.

The peace talks were limited to five negotiation points- these being agrarian reform, the political participation of former FARC members, the procedures and statues that would bring an end to the armed conflict, The FARC involvement in the international drug trade, and the sources of reparation for victims. (Alvira 2013)

Colombian President  Juan Manuel Santos. Photo Credit: Ministerio TIC Colombia/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Photo Credit: Ministerio TIC Colombia/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

After four years of negotiations, Santos promised the Colombian people he would release the final agreement and subject it to a popular vote.

On October 2, 2016 a non-binding plebiscite was held.

The question to answer in the vote was “Do you support the final agreement to end the conflict and the construction of a stable long-lasting peace?”

Colombians were to vote Yes or No.

Colombians rejected the peace accord and the “No” won by 50.2 percent against the “Yes” 49.8 percent.

What’s Next?

After the announcement of the results,  Santos acknowledged the results as the will of the people and called for national unity.

He talked about his commitment with achieving peace and desire to reach a consensus with Colombians that did not agree with him.

At the same time, one of the FARC leaders talked about his compromise to reach peace and to keep the cease-fire agreement in place.

The leaders of the “No” camp reassured that people were rejecting the concessions that the government made with the FARC but not rejecting peace.

They argued the government was more or less rewarding terrorist and that this emphasized the need for renegotiation and for a better deal with the FARC.

Photo Credit: SV-AS10 ImageData

Photo Credit: SV-AS10 ImageData

The current situation is an opportunity for true consensus through renegotiation.

Santos’ new plans are to include the thoughts from leaders of the “No” camp such as Alvaro Uribe Velez, Marta Lucia Ramirez, and Andrés Pastrana Arango.

Read More: What The Revolution Wrought: The Umbrella Movement Two Years On

This is essential to help mitigate the division and polarization in the country.

The next step is to truly form points of discussion and agreements that both sides (within the government) agree and then renegotiate with the FARC.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Photo Credit: bixentro/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Sources cited in piece: 

Leech, Garry. The FARC: The longest insurgency. London and New York: Fernwood Publishing, Zed Book ltd, 2011.

Meucci, M. (2013). Proceso de paz en Colombia. Posibles implicaciones para Venezuela. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 3-19. Translated by Juliana Carvajal

Alvira, G. (2013). Toward a New Amnesty: The Colombian Peace Process and the Inter- American Court of Human Rights. Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law, 22, 119-144.

Meet IGNITE: The Organization Working To Get Millennial Women To Take Over Politics

There are only 104 women in the whole of the Congress, making up only 19.4% of the 535 combined members of both houses.

That dizzying gender-gap in politics was what inspired Dr. Anne Moses to create IGNITE, a non-profit organization that helps empower young women who want to run for public office.

Moses, the founder and president of IGNITE has been determined to fight for women’s equal political representation from a young age.

When she was 23 years old Moses watched as Anita Hill got attacked by scores of Senators on national television after she claimed that future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her. All the while, Moses noticed that there was not a single woman on the Senate Judiciary committee.

Moses realized that to reach political equity, young women had to be trained to be leaders who are ready to run for office.

She started IGNITE in 2009 with the purpose of training young women to think critically about policy and to become civically engaged.

“Young women deserve the most amount of support and mentorship to walk the path to politics,” Sara Guillermo, the Chief Program Officer for IGNITE said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

The founding states of IGNITE are California, Texas and Colorado but the organization has been expanding over the years.

Young women from high schools, colleges and universities receive training via high school curriculum, college chapters, annual conferences, and elected officials events.

Guillermo is thankful to these pioneering young women who have taken the opportunity to develop professionally and digest policy topics that they care about.

IGNITE trains young women between the ages of 14 and 22.

“When we get them younger, we get them to stay with us and the impact we create for them is incredible and valuable,” Guillermo said.

The issue of gender equality has been present in the world for several decades and yet the rate of progress has been painfully slow.

Thus, the question still remains, why do we have so few women running for elected office?

Guillermo’s answer to this is that they are not asked to, “they [women] are not socialized enough” in the idea of running for office.

IGNITE is an outlet were young women can see that they have the capacity to lead and make a change.

The response so far has been extremely positive as the organization has trained over 5,000 young women in their own communities from various backgrounds.

Over the years of teaching the curriculum, Guillermo has had some beautiful success stories.

One of them is of an undocumented young woman that had the leadership and drive to get involved in politics, but also had many other barriers in her life.

As an undocumented person she was prevented from studying abroad or when applying to college she had limited opportunities. She could not apply for FAFSA for example.

Thanks to IGNITE she had the opportunity to take her first plane ride and what a ride it was.

She flew to Washington D.C. and met with some of President Obama’s advisors.

According to Guillermo, she is currently attending college and starting an IGNITE chapter there.

In the future the founders of the group are thinking of expanding.

They will host seven conferences in seven cities and will launch fellowships programs to lead national college work.

Guillermo has advice for young people who have a passion for making a change in their communities or for being involved in politics.

“Try everything at least once, find a mentor to talk to, don’t be scared to try something different, we walk around with fear and not wanting to do certain things, just do it,” Guillermo said.

To learn more you can visit the group’s website:

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: IGNITE/ Submitted

Abuela Mami: The Startup That Is Bringing Homesick Cubans Back To Their Roots One Box At A Time

Have you ever felt homesick for South Florida?

I mean like really homesick? So much so that you day dream about the food found on Calle Ocho or in your grandmother’s kitchen?

Well, if you’ve ever felt that before, then you are not alone.

It was that feeling that helped create Abuela Mami, a Miami based food startup.

Humby Valdes, 40, grew up in Miami as a first generation Cuban- American.

He spoke Spanish at home and was raised with all of the Cuban culture comforts.

It was only 5 or 6 years ago that he went to work in New York and for the first time he felt he was away from Miami and from the tastes that helped make home for him.

In New York, he realized that things like some Cuban dishes (i.e pastelitos, guava, Cuban crackers) where hard to find. It was even hard to find Cuban Coffee.

“When you live in Miami you just get Cuban coffee everywhere,” Valdes said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

Valdes found himself constantly missing food and all of other Cuban goodies from Miami.

He thought it was a good idea to create a box full of Cuban goodies that could be delivered around the United States.

His mom and grandmother used to do something similar.

In December 2015, he got together with his brother Kiki Valdes, 35 and launched Abuela Mami.

In Spanish, Abuela means grandmother and Mami stands for mom, the origin of the name comes from Humby’s and Kikis grandmother Blanca del Rio and their mom Gladys Ferrer.

Abuela Mami’s purpose is for their costumers to have an emotional connection when they open their monthly box of Cuban treats.

You can also make one time purchases of either the Coffee Box ($25.95) or the Surprise Box ($19.99).

The most popular subscription is for the Surprise Box, which is just as it sounds.

Each box contains 4 to 9 items of handpicked Cuban culture goodies.


Boxes can include kitchen tools, games, snacks, sweets and coffee among other interesting things.

Abuela Mami is based in Miami and all of the products also come from Miami area suppliers.

With a little help from their 90 year old grandmother, the brothers ensure that the Surprise box is always a unique and intimate Cuban experience.

As it is still a growing business, Humby Valdes insists on the importance of making each box “as intimate as possible”, while making “sure that when people receive the box it comes straight from Miami, something that is coming straight from Cubans or Cubans Americans”.

“The connection that the subscription box has with family, the emotion that it gives to costumers it’s amazing, it is very humbling to be able to make people feel and connect to heritage and family”.

In the future the founders have been thinking of expanding the Surprise Box in a way so they can deliver boxes from other Latin American countries (i.e Colombia or Venezuela),yet for the moment they are focused only on Cuban cultural selections.

Humby Valdes also has some advice for young people who move away from their home.

“They [young people] are going to miss it and realize your mom and mother are not going to be there forever, [so] enjoy your family and heritage.”

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Photo Credits: Abuela Mami

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