L.A.: The SUSI Bridge Between Phoenix and Washington

A white heart is outlined in the blue California sky

July 8, 2023, the 18 SUSI musketeers are having their last morning in downtown Los Angeles (L.A.). Everyone is finishing packing and getting ready to depart for Washington, D.C., which will take all day.

After four weeks in Phoenix, Arizona and with much information and experience, the 18 participants of the 2023 Study of the United States Institute (SUSI) on Journalism, Technology, and Democracy agreed that this program is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them.

The fifth week was in L.A. We had more free time to explore the city as there are many things to discover and explore.

The first day was the 4th of July; this day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. According to the Library of Congress, on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. The Constitution provides the legal and governmental framework for the United States. 

On this day, we gathered with crowds from all over L.A. in the Grand Park area to celebrate this occasion; The Block Party offered music, entertainment, and, of course, a fantastic drone show and a fabulous traditional fireworks display. 

The second day was a free day. The participants took the hop-on-hop-off bus to showcase the city landscapes and enjoy the beautiful weather, visiting various sights, attractions and hundreds of shops, starting from Hollywood Boulevard, celebrity homes, Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, and the well-known Santa Monica Beach.

As the days were moving fast, on the third day, we explored the Autry Museum of the American West in Griffith Park. We discussed America’s westward expansion and its impact on the evolution of representative democracy in the U.S. and representations of the American West in media. Also, some of us visited Griffith Observatory on this day for the best view of the city of Los Angeles and the famous Hollywood sign. The Griffith Observatory has been featured in many movies, from “Rebel Without a Cause” to “La La Land.”

The scholars stand at a bust stop in metro Los Angeles
Scholars took the public bus to the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles

On the last day before heading to Washington, we walked to ASU’s California Center, where Ms Rachel Kane, Professor of Practice and Content Director, led the group on a tour of the student workspaces within ASU’s California Center. Ms Kane presented the role of the studio in the Cronkite School’s programs, teaching content creation, while master’s student Mirah Borden presented her work and discussed it with the participants.

This is our last morning here in L.A.; It’s time to depart for Washington. The participants are packed and ready to move. “It’s never goodbye, Los Angeles until we meet again.”

To Washington, everyone is preparing for another journey through the U.S. capital city, from the debrief with the Department of State to the U.S. Capitol, Voice of America and other visits.

This week marks the last week, it’s been a superb experience, and a lot more is coming.