How the heck has my internship ended? We go back to school soon to continue the fight to mobilize and empower our campus. However, it feels like yesterday I walked into the PHI house for the first time so meet my fellow Wake the Vote peers. Now I am finishing the second of the third phase of the program that shaped my freshman year.
Our graduation from the internship happened today and it was surreal in so many ways. Somehow in two months both Zach and I built a huge community of not only mentors but friends. Linda Sutton, our boss, has become a huge inspiration for me to grow as an organizer in my community. Everyone we met called her a legend, and my oh my she was. She has been fighting for the people for her whole life. And the knowledge she passed on to me and the support/love she gave me really affected me in how I see this community based work. She showed me the impact I could have on the community I was born and raised in. That’s what really hit me I think being able to work in Winston a place close to my heart. But beyond the help she gave me in knowledge she made me feel safe and welcome within a new workplace full of new people. She made me feel like I was a important piece that didn’t need to be micromanaged and let me have the responsibly of my job. She trusted Zach and I, and from that trust our friendship with Linda grew.
And it was not only with Linda but much of the organization and its people at Democracy NC. And the connections built with our fellow interns, especially with Drew Finley. Drew is a Wake Forest Sophomore and through Dem NC I met a fellow Deac who I know see as a fellow friend. I could see a future with Dem NC because of the community I built with them. They are fighting of real issues that affect us all, and I could be an active part of that fight for everyone’s voice to be heard.
During our graduation, I was nostalgic as we presented our PowerPoint of learning. But sad as well, because within this moment it was official that we were done with Dem NC. As this set in, something magical happened. In the last presentation from one of the teams I got a text with news about something close to Dem NC. It turned out that the NC voter ID laws aka the Monster Laws were announced to be unconstitutional. This law that we have been fighting for years now, something many saw as one of the worst voting disenfranchisement laws in the United States. Something we knew we had to fight as Wake the Voters but also as members of the Dem NC team. I run over to Bob, who is one of the founders and original people of Democracy NC and show him. He gets ecstatic!! This news is something so amazing, this news changes the world of voting in NC for the fall. So many people get to have their voice heard and that meant so much to all of us. We then pause the presentation and I read out the verdict and the entire room abrupt in shouts and excitement. It felt like a television show, the end of our Dem NC journey and at the same moment the worst voting disentrancement law gets taken down.
I guess you could say our work is done for the moment. Now the only job is to register, register, register, and mobilizing our people to the polls. Wake the Vote takes on that responsibility now, and we are ready to make Wake the most voter friendly campus in Winston and ready to help the Winston community get their voices heard.