The Endless Summer (of Healthcare Advocacy)

Working at an advocacy-focused organization this summer, of all summers, was going to be anything but boring. But when I applied for a summer internship at the Feminist Majority Foundation on a whim, I had no idea what I was in for.

I walked in on my first day, business casual and all, and sat in a conference room with the other interns. The first thing we did was talk about the policy issues we were passionate about. As an International Affairs major concentrating in Global Public Health, I was ecstatic to get assigned to two projects: 1) advocating for Afghan women and 2) advocating against the Senate’s sad excuse for a healthcare bill.

The first two weeks of my internship were a whirlwind. During that time I:

  • Talked to Dr. Sima Samar, the former Minister of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan, who had some very insightful words about human rights in Afghanistan.
  • Wrote a fact sheet on how cuts to Medicaid would be devastating for people with disabilities.
  • Used that fact sheet to lobby on the Hill and meet with healthcare staffers.
  • Attended three rallies to #SaveOurCare and #StandWithPP.
  • Saw my Senator, my queen, Kamala Harris, speak, in addition to Senators Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand, Schumer, Murphy, Franken, Booker, Murray, Blumenthal, Wyden, and Stabenow.
  • Cried because I met the hosts of Pod Save America (which you should listen to if you don’t already!).
  • Chanted "Stand Up! Fight Back!" more times than I can count.

As frustrated as I am by the current political climate, I’ve tapped into my inner advocate, which, if I’m honest, had gone into self-care and self-preservation mode since the Women’s March. Now, I am even more fired up and ready to go! Whether it was making sharable graphics to encouraging people to call their Senators to researching advocacy events in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area (DMV), I felt more productive than ever in terms of fighting the good fight.

There were a few unexpected things that made my internship at Feminist Majority the great learning experience it was. One of those things was the all-female workplace. It may have been the constant support or even just how comfortable the environment felt, but having an office full of fierce, dedicated women bouncing ideas off one another cultivates the sort of magic I wish I could bottle up and sprinkle all over Capitol Hill.

Another is how the fast pace of Washington translates to advocacy work. Minutes before the first healthcare rally began, the Senate vote on the healthcare bill was delayed and we were able to celebrate. I came in one morning with nothing to do, and by noon I was making calls to Congress asking them to support a letter to Secretary Rex Tillerson regarding visas being denied to an Afghan girls robotics team. I celebrated alongside the other interns when the girls' visas were issued and  I was even able to attend the dinner in their honor at the Embassy of Afghanistan.

I am more than grateful for the opportunity to intern with Feminist Majority and I would encourage anyone who is even slightly considering applying to do so. You get everything you put into this internship right back out of it!