RealInternships: Jessica Vallejo

My time at the League of United Latin American citizens has been such a great learning experience and so much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined! I have had the opportunity to work on so many great projects, learn from amazing people, and truly build a skill set to better provide service for others in the future.

jessicaOne of the highlights of the beginning on the summer was working on our national convention. It was a crazy time as we prepared for our big event of the year, but everything went as planned, and we had a very successful convention! This year, our convention brought together leading experts on issues such as education, health, immigration, diversity in the workplace, and civic participation. One of the highlights was Vice President Joe Biden’s keynote address on immigration reform, at our Youth and Young Adults Awards Banquet. Although, the entire team worked on these bigger events together, we also worked within our departments to put on our own smaller events and workshops. As part of the Civic Engagement team then, I was most involved with the execution of our civic engagement events. These included a panel entitled ‘Empowering Nuestra Comunidad Through Civic Engagement;’ A town hall called ‘Latinos United for Immigration Reform Town Hall;’ a training in partnership with P&G for college students named “Orgullosa Project: Active Citizen Training;” as well as a press conference regarding ‘Civic Engagement & Immigration Reform.’

I really enjoyed all of our events, and was able to learn a great deal not only from having put on the events, but most importantly from our panelists and the people who attended our events. Our panelists were all very influential Latino leaders from their particulars fields, including representatives from Rock the Vote, Maria Cardona a CNN reporter and political strategist, journalist Jose Diaz-Balart, and other representatives from major Latino organizations. It was really inspiring to see how committed these people are to spreading awareness to the issues important to our community and to mobilizing people to become civically engaged.

The convention was only the beginning though! Our focus this summer, as the civic engagement team is comprehensive immigration reform. One way we are tackling this is through our Immigration Town Hall initiative (putting on dozens of town halls throughout the country in order to inform people of immigration reform and on what they can do to make this happen.) Putting on the town halls, has been extremely rewarding. Each one has its own personality, as it is made up of different local people, from elected officials to lawyers and business people, to the DREAMers, other activists and the people attending the panels themselves. I am very grateful and excited to be doing grassroots work of this sort, as I tangibly see the impact it has on the community. Specifically, it makes me happy to see people asking questions about the legislation at hand, and even personal questions that, they would be afraid to ask, or not even have the possibility to ask under other circumstances.

Through our efforts, strategies, and the knowledge and wisdom of my supervisors, I have been learning a great deal about the legislative process, and different forms of advocacy and mobilization available within our system. Currently I am working on a national initiative, that I have been given the opportunity to plan and execute! I am really excited to continue working out through that initiative and see it grow as we begin to implement it. I cannot be more excited and grateful to have the opportunity to work for LULAC, and have access to all the wonderful resources this organization and this city have provided me over the past few weeks!

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