First of all, I hate saying good bye. As many people may have figured our by now, I’m a pretty upbeat person. I like to laugh, I LOVE to make jokes, and I genuinely like forming friendships with people. I put this blog off until the last possible moment because when I press ‘publish,’ I know it will be the end. Now that I’ve depressed everyone, here it is: My final blog.
Last Saturday in the QC, America, Robert and I threw the most rockin’ luau the 704 has EVER seen. We had Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets, Orange, Red AND Blue Hawaiian Punch, brightly-colored tablecloths, plastic necklaces (those Hawaiian things, I can’t get the spell checker to work) and most importantly macadamia nut cookies! With the help of our wonderful Charlotte advocate, Page Lee, we were able to host 12 or so people and have a real discussion about Democracy Summer and all our work. We raised close to $200 and really enjoyed an evening of good food and pleasant conversation. Plus, no one brought out their knitting needles!
We also experienced a new kind of phonebanking this week at Dem NC. Instead of homemade spreadsheets, we utilized a new technology: ACTIVATE. We programmed a calling number into the program and the program dialed from a spreadsheet of registered voters, weeding out wrong numbers, answering machines and disconnected numbers, and then connected to the office of whichever senator we were trying to reach. While this seemed exciting and novel, by the end of the three hours, that beeping sounded like a speaker at Sonic Drive In during happy hour (Sonic VET after 2 LONG years). I’m not joking; I had nightmares about that beep. However, despite some struggle with the new-fangled equipment, we had a good number of people contacting either Tony Rand or Linda Garrou.
Thinking back over my experiences with Democracy North Carolina, I’ve learned a lot of things. For example, America has about 10 different types of nods, each nod deeper depending on the extent to which she agrees with you, most people aren’t afraid to tell you they just had their colon removed and no, they will not call their representative, and most importantly, compassion is the strongest and most powerful emotion I’ve ever witnessed in a human being. Compassion for equality, compassion for democracy and compassion for others drives reformers to do the thing that challenges them, overwhelms them or the things that seem impossible. I deeply admire and respect every member of Democracy North Carolina. This internship has helped me realize that compassion resides in every one of us; we just have to be brave enough to follow wherever it leads us. I’ve learned people will listen to what I have to say, if I take the time to articulate it. I’ve learned we can all be heroes, if we are willing to bear the burden of inspiration and endure the difficulties of disappointment. We are all capable, we are all qualified, we now must reach for the stars.
To all my fellow interns: Thank you so much for making every step of this journey unforgettable. I cherish each and every memory we have made, and look back on every phone script run-through, ice-breaker and tic-infested meal with a smile. America: I am so thankful to have spent the last 9 weeks with you. I don’t know if I could have endured DHS, the Blackberry Brunch, ACORN gnats or the 60 year old creepers with anyone but you. Thank you for making me laugh everyday, and truly brightening up the watt-less office. To Robert and my supervisors: thanks for taking a chance on me, and allowing me to represent Democracy North Carolina. I cannot express how grateful I am for all the training and experience, and the gift of interacting with such wonderful individuals each and everyday.