It's been two weeks since I've moved to DC for the summer, and my life is currently a montage of wine-tasting, international conference calls and UN Treaties, and the seemingly endless labyrinth that is the DC underground. If this sounds wonderful, it still doesn't touch how amazing the experience is when you're living it firsthand.
If you don't know, I'm interning with the Public Policy Dept. at The United Spinal Association--the org that played a major role in the fight for accessible taxis in New York and is working with the Push Girls, Sundance Channel's latest hit reality show that actually depicts wheelchair users the way they are: completely normal and very cool :)
It has only been one week since I've started at United Spinal, but I already know that my summer here will be a 100% life-changing experience. This is my first full-time internship and I definitely had semi-low expectations going into it. We all know the plight of the lowly intern and their never-ending piles of papers to be stapled or coffees to be made--I figured that, although it would be an entry-point into the field of public policy and human rights advocacy, my experience would be the same. Well, it isn't.
At United Spinal, I'm doing substantive work--from researching the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to being a fly-on-the-wall in collaborative meetings with other DC policy/advocacy groups, I'm really getting a firsthand look into what the field is all about and how real change is made at the legislative level. And even though I've only been working here a week, I'm confident that I'll be learning more than I ever could have about the issues that matter this summer: the rights of the disability community and how the political process ensures that we, as America's largest minority, are given equal status as US citizens.
Next week, I'll talk a little more about getting around in DC and life as an intern :)