Last week, our DC intern team hosted a briefing, “From Passion To Progress,” at the Dirksen Senate building to discuss how to put a women’s rights agenda into action. Our interns spent weeks planning and organizing the event, which drew a crowd of more than 100 interns from around DC. These are their favorite memories.
Talia Cowen, Media, Global Health and Rights, and Government Relations Intern
I know the issues we decided to include in the briefing meant a lot to me, but I wasn’t sure how an audience of more than 100 DC interns would respond to them. I was sitting in the very front of the room, listening to the speeches I had already heard several times (they were #flawless!), so I couldn’t really gauge the room’s response because everyone was behind me. Only when it came time for questions could I really see how receptive the audience was to the briefing. They asked how they could bring the feminist movement into their communities, including high schools! I loved that people were inspired enough to feel moved to act and talk more about the issues we addressed.
Beth Feldstein, HERVotes and Government Relations Intern
During the week leading up to the briefing, everyone in the FMF office was frantically working to confirm our speakers, finalize our content, assemble our fact sheet materials, and publicize the event. But all of the stress of pulling this event together evaporated for me when our attendees started showing up in waves. The fact that our issues resonated with enough people to fill a giant Senate hearing room was incredibly meaningful.
Paige McKinsey, Global Health and Rights, Campus Leadership Program, and Education Equity Intern
I’m always hearing progressive groups and congresspeople talk about the need to get young people involved in politics, but I rarely see anyone giving young people the space needed to be involved and have their voices heard. At this briefing everyone was able to play a role and occupy a space in the conversation. For myself, this meant that I was empowered to conduct my own research on the unmet need for contraception, help generate FMF’s stance on how much the United States should contribute to the unmet need, and finally share what I had learned at the briefing.
Kathleen Wilson, Global Health and Rights and Government Relations Intern
In the days leading up to the briefing, I was nervous that not many people would show up to an event at 9 a.m. Perhaps it was the promise of donuts or perhaps it was the prospect of learning more about feminist activism that attracted people to the event; either way, I was shocked by the large turnout at our briefing. As one of the student panelists, I was especially impressed by the attentiveness and enthusiasm of the attendees. Seeing people take notes while I spoke about CEDAW and reading the comments that people were going to talk to their Senators about CEDAW made all of the event preparation worthwhile.
Tamara Stein, Campus Leadership Program, HERVotes, and Government Relations Intern
Call me a super nerd, but when I got to meet, and then introduce to the room, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Congresswoman Jackie Speier, I was so excited I could barely speak. I have been a huge fan of both of these amazing women for a while now, and having the honor of describing their achievements regarding women’s rights and introducing them to the crowd was definitely a highlight of my whole summer. I think having these two Congresswomen there to speak at our briefing gave it more legitimacy and drew in an even larger crowd.
Jennifer Lee, Government Relations and Education Equity Intern
My favorite part of the intern briefing was the process of writing my remarks on campus sexual assault. I went through at least five drafts of my speech with Beth and we both worked on developing my key points and making my language as inclusive as possible. All of the interns came together, whether that was through making printed materials or visiting congressional offices. This experience was a true test of teamwork, and the overwhelmingly positive responses we received after the briefing proved that our efforts had been worthwhile.
Yemisi Miller-Tonnet, Campus Leadership Program and Government Relations Intern
The highlight of the intern briefing for me was answering the thoughtful and important questions that the audience had for the panel. As a panelist, knowing that an audience of my peers was listening to me speak about my passions and thinking critically about the topics was amazing. Realizing that so many other young people are interested in feminist activism really empowered and inspired me!
Makhfi Azizi, Media and Global Health and Rights Intern
My favorite part of the briefing was that a lot of people showed up and expressed their interest in the topics presented by the speakers and panelists. It was good to see that young people are concerned about critical issues related to women and are committed to bring changes and increase awareness among other youth.
Nora Brodnitz, Global Health and Rights and Campus Leadership Program Intern
In the days before the briefing, I spent hours running around trying to get all of the fact sheets we wanted to give out edited and in folders that were ready to be given out. Seeing people looking through the folders and actually reading the information I had spent so much time on made all that work seem worthwhile. It was especially great when some people came up to me after and specifically mentioned how much they appreciated the information we had handed out.
Meg Northrup, Global Health and Rights and Government Relations Intern
When I first made the call for questions only one or two people looked interested, and I started to get nervous that people had nothing to say about our briefing. But then when the questions started coming I became more nervous that we would botch the answers– they were being tough on the panel! Despite my nerves, everyone on the panel answered the questions beautifully and seeing that the attendees wanted to engage was exciting more than anything else. I felt like everyone had actually listened to our panel, and hopefully we moved some of them to action.