Advocacy takes an exciting tone when it is done in our nation’s capital. Before coming to Washington, D.C., the closest I came to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bread for the World, or NETWORK was to their websites. Now I attend meetings where representatives from these organizations are present. It is exciting for me to have the privilege to work with these organizations and to hear their ideas firsthand.
I had also become accustomed to participating in the political system from a distance. The closest I had gotten to any representative was an automated email response to one of my letters. Now that I am in D.C., I have opportunities to hear from and meet several politicians. Witnessing political procedures and listening to congresswomen and congressmen personally is a completely new experience for me. I am constantly learning about politics and about my role in the political system.
Being at the heart of political action has helped me make new connections between advocacy and my faith. Meeting people from other faith based organizations has made it easier for me to identify the larger movement of which I am a part. This is a movement that seeks the common good and advocates for society’s most vulnerable. Listening to politicians and attending Congressional hearings allows me to see that as a social justice advocate, I am a part of the political system. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work, learn, and grow in faith in D.C. this summer.