This post was written by Eleanor Brow, a participant in the Global Justice Summer Internships.
Coming out of my freshman year of college in May 2014, I felt even more confused about what I wanted to do with my life than when I began college back in August. I had gone to many events and participated in a lot of clubs throughout the year, but choosing one career or subject and then following that forever seemed so daunting and scary. I go to American University (AU) in Washington, DC where life is very different compared to my small hometown in North Carolina. Everyone at AU wants to change the world or be the President one day. These goals are amazing and people should strive for them, but are they right for me? What do I want to do? How will I seize my future? These were new questions that I now had to deal with.
I knew jumping into an internship would be very beneficial to me. I hoped learning professional skills would help for my future and help me solidify what type of work I wanted to be apart of when I did graduate. I was raised Unitarian Universalist and always loved connecting with UU’s when I was in high school. Through the UU College of Social Justice, I found an internship with Standing on the Side of Love. I felt interning here for the summer would be the perfect opportunity for me in my current state of limbo. Working in an office on social justice issues definitely seemed like the place that would help me answer some of the questions I currently faced.
As I reflect on my summer internship at Standing on the Side of Love, I am confident I have learned important skills in which I will use in my future endeavors. This internship was a very rewarding experience in which I received firsthand experience at how a public advocacy campaign actually functions. I worked professionally with my supervisors on outreach to the general public and UU communities on topics such as gay rights, immigration reform, and religious rights. I have become skilled in many social media platforms, WordPress, and SalsaLabs, and basic HTML coding.
My internship was not exclusively just in the UUA DC office. A lot of my work took place out in the city of DC as well as in Boston and Providence. These tasks included advocating for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, attending panels on the Transgender rights movement, participating in the Multicultural Growth and Witness Retreat, rallying for immigrant right at the White House, and staffing General Assembly 2014 in Providence, RI.
Being a part of General Assembly was definitely the most rewarding part of my internship. Preparing for GA was very stressful since we had a lot to do for Standing on the Side of Love’s 5th year Anniversary at this year’s GA. We all put so much work into preparation and then seeing all our work pay off in successful events at GA was amazing for me to see.
This internship has dramatically altered my views for my future and I am so thankful for the lessons it has taught me. I’ve learned so much in an incredibly short time. This internship gave me the opportunity to see what being a real working human being is like and how to maintain a countrywide movement around the amazing concept of love. I have become more aware and educated about social justice issues. I now feel so inspired to pursue social justice work at other organizations in Washington, D.C. and will continue to be involved and fight for people’s basic human rights. I also feel recommitted to Unitarian Universalism and want to continue attending All Souls Church in DC and stay connected with local UU individuals. I am thankful to my supervisors and colleagues in the DC office along with the amazing staff I have encountered in Boston. It has been an amazing summer and I look forward to the future.