By Justice Wright, Tyquan Outlaw, and Andrew Allison
Capitol Hill’s Journalism team took a trip to Gallery Place Chinatown to visit this year’s Washington Ideas
Forum on September 30. They saw speakers, activists, and journalists from all across the United States, including Theo Padnos, a survivor of being kidnapped in Syria; Opal Tometi, a Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter; and Yale Professor Marc Brackett.
Kidnapped journalist shares his story
During the 11 o’clock hour, Theo Padnos shared his testimony of being kidnapped and tortured by the terrorist organization ISIS. Even though Padnos is familiar with the culture, he traveled to Turkey because he still wanted to learn more on the people and language. Theo and three men drove across the Turkish border to Benish, Syria, where Padnos interviewed them and where they soon uncovered themselves as associates of ISIS.
“Something you don’t want to happen is for them to pass you to another group,” Padnos said.
These men then beat Padnos, and forced him to have a trial with a judge where it was decided that Padnos must stay with his captors. Theo announced that his captors took him to a basement to interrogate him. Even after answering all their questions, his captors continued to beat him. Four others were kept hostage with Padnos.
“We can keep killing these people but more will come,” Theo said.
While these events were occurring, Padnos’ family members were contacting everyone they knew to get information on him. One of the other captives was a journalist at The Atlantic, so they reached out to the magazine. David Bradley, a co-founder at The Atlantic, helped to find Padnos and the other captives. While isn’t clear how Bradley rescued Padnos, Padnos was able to shortly after return to his family in the United States.
“He’s came up wiser, deeper and whole,” Theo’s mother said.
Activist speaks about the movement that matters
Opal Tometi, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, was interviewed by Scott Stossel from The Atlantic Wednesday at the Washington Ideas Forum 2015. Tometi spoke about how #BlackLivesMatter can become effective in the world.
“I believe that when we take action, things can actually change,” Tometi said.
Tometi said she believes that #BlackLivesMatter is a movement that inspires the black community to come together and solve the problem.
“We aren’t saying that every other ethnicity does not matter,” Tomesti said. “We just need people to open their eyes and see what it feels like to be black in the United States.”
Andrew’s Advice for Networking
During my experience at the Washington Ideas Forum, I met a lot of influential businessmen and politicians. I made a lot of connections and expanded my network, giving me opportunities to get jobs in the future. From my experience these tips will help you.
1.) Talk about yourself.
Always make yourself sound professional and hardworking. If it is high, talking about your GPA is always a good way to make yourself sound important. For example, mine is a 3.83. Talk about any government program that is going to help you go to school and college.
2.) Find things that you have in common with the person.
Find a name in common, a favorite hobby, even the same colored shoes. Anything to get the conversation started.
3.) ALWAYS ASK FOR A BUSINESS CARD.