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As I sat in my childhood bedroom completing the internship I thought would take me to DC, it felt like I was watching the world fall apart around me. Each day, I saw the death toll rise, watched cities go up in flames, and heard stories of small businesses closing permanently—all while I wasn’t allowed to even go to the grocery store.


This apocalyptic background seemed to create a sense of urgency within Congress, which I’ve gathered is relatively unusual.


It felt like every congressional hearing I attended referenced the pandemic and growing movement against systemic racism. Everyone seemed to agree on one thing: we are at a critical point in history. We have a unique opportunity to build back better, and we must use it to protect vulnerable populations that were historically overlooked. 


The ability to intern in policy at such a critical point has been a very exciting privilege, even if it means working from my laptop.


Most of my work this summer focused on how issues like environmental justice, STEM education, and health policy need to be more equitable. It’s impossible to do this work without acknowledging the systemic racism that runs through our country. Intentional policy practices like redlining, disinvestments in BIPOC communities, and voter suppression have shaped modern society—the pandemic has merely shown a spotlight on the inequalities laid out by our predecessors. 


I’ve been lucky enough to see my frustrations echoed by Congress. As I watch lawmakers hold hearings, draft bills, and include more anti-racist policies in their appropriations, I can feel a sense of hope that our country is moving in the right direction. It’s not quite fast enough for my taste, but it seems to be moving quicker than before.