This list of things I learned as a Democracy Summer intern is endless, but I will try my best to sum it up in a few paragraphs. First and foremost I learned an enormous amount about voting laws, election politics, and how local governments work. Being surrounded by so many intelligent staff that seem to know every answer to every question I could have was an invaluable resource for learning about voting laws, the government, and also about life in general. I also learned what it means to be part of a nonprofit that not only does research, but does on the ground organizing around certain causes. Being in the office helping fuel those organizers while also getting a chance to see what that looks like at the Moral Monday March was an unforgettable learning experience. I was able to observe what creating a network and getting important information to people means while also making it interesting and relevant enough to get people want to be on board with the cause.
I was surprised at the sheer amount of force that is behind Democracy NC and other organizations like it. Going into this internship I wasn’t under the impression that Dem NC had a big following, but the growing number of devoted advocates for Dem NC continues to astonish me. Although I was interested in social justice before this summer, I used to think it was hard to get others on board as well. This summer has surprised me by showing that so many others want to join the fight and not just for the moment, but for the long haul.
I was really proud of our whole intern team when I saw how much we’ve accomplished as a whole. Even though we were apart most of the summer, it was awesome to see pictures and hear stories of everyone testifying at hearings, canvassing, and creating good conversation at the movie screenings.
Going forward I first of all really hope to keep in touch with the wonderful and inspiring people I had the privilege of working with this summer. Without my coworkers this summer wouldn’t have been nearly as special and I am grateful I got to work so closely with them. I am also hoping to keep Dem Summer in my mind when I get discouraged by a lack of progress in the social justice movement; this summer has taught me that there is power and strength in numbers and the fight for justice is not in vain. I am so thankful I got the experience to work with an organization that truly utilizes this concept and doesn’t stand down in the face of defeat.
^Extra shout out to my lovely, lovely office co-inhabitants