(Wow! 5 weeks already? I almost can't believe the summer's flying by so quickly!)
This week on Capital Hill at Rep. Paul Ryan’s office, I have been doing a lot of reading alongside my general office duties. I used to hardly ever read the news, much less pick up a physical newspaper, but now I am proud to say that I have been diligently keeping up with politics daily via Politico and Roll Call. As a result, I would say I have become very well versed and up to date on a variety of current topics. In more exciting news (though not related to headline news) I am tentatively hoping to schedule meetings with Judy Chu (D-CA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). I’ve read so much about these two incredible congresswomen and cannot wait to speak with them about their experiences. Now, you may be thinking “But Nicole, they’re democrats! *gasp*” While I do happen to identify with the Republican Party, I think that Rep. Chu and Rep. Baldwin’s contributions to their communities as well as their insight being both women and belonging to a minority offer invaluable wisdom for me.
Throughout my time in D.C., I am beginning to realize that newer social movements shouldn’t just look to more established social movements to learn from them (eg: methods for visibility, mobilization, etc). Instead, we should realize that our struggles regardless of movement are the same-- People with disabilities, women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and the LGBTQ community. We all seek the same things: recognition, equality, freedom, and a right to happiness. Therefore, these aren’t just “parallel movements” to be studied, but rather they have the potential to act as “allied movements” for one another. For example, just because one does not have a disability, it does not mean they have not experienced similar struggles for rights as an individual with a disability has. As a woman, transgender individual, or Native American, one can relate to the strife of individuals in other social movements. Just imagine how much momentum could be harnessed by connecting with others that also fight for justice in their communities.