Laughter and music rang through the streets of Pennsylvania avenue as rainbow decorated the streets, only blocks away from the white house. Individuals, once hidden, existed unapologetically in the and exhibited unapologetic, a communal celebration of love and resilience. Throughout all of the excitement and images of rainbogo of equality, a yellow equal sign framed in blue, was lifted high above as supporters and individuals danced in the streets, a celebration of pride and a valiant reminder of progress and continuity. This is what Washington D.C.’s pride festival looked like June 9th and 10th.
I am an intern for the Human Rights Campaign. Known for their iconic yellow and blue logo featuring an equal sign, HRC is the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization. Founded in 1980, HRC advocates to expand and protect the rights of LGBTQ individuals, as well as proving educational resources and support. Since its beginning 38 years ago, HRC has become one of the most recognizable non-profits in modern political lobbying and activism.
I cannot give enough gratitude of being able to experience my first Pride festival through both a professional and personal lens. At HRC, I am the Membership Outreach intern. In this capacity, I am involved in planning all of the pride festivals and events that occur around the United States. From San Francisco to Ann Arbor, if HRC is a part of the festival, I am able to see the manifestations from only a few points on a database to a fully functional and decorated booth.
I’m a big dreamer, and I love to be a part of big things. With this in mind, it is no surprise that HRC has become apart of my journey. Everyone that knows me is familiar with my passion for civil rights issues and diversity affairs. I am constantly seeking opportunities to open my mind and broaden my perspective. I identify as heterosexual Black woman, and it has been an informative and transformational experience uncovering the privileges that I have navigating daily life. While I have many thoughts on navigating life as a black woman, I have not reflected enough on how my more-privileged identities, such as my sexual orientation, also play an equal role in shaping how I navigate the world. In the words of Audre Lorde, “there is no hierarchy of oppression”, and it is with this mindset that I explored how my heterosexual and cisgender privilege manifests in my life.
I am treating every event this summer as a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am energized by the limitless possibilities and the pertinent drive to take advantage of even the smallest opportunities. Throughout the course of our summer internships, I hope that everyone has an opportunity to learn more about how to use our experiences as an opportunity to aid in something bigger than our own scope of relevance and vision. And if this opportunity is not available throughout our internship itself, I hope everyone finds an opportunity this summer to broaden the lens through which we see ourselves and each other.
Na’kia is a student at the University of Michigan pursuing a BA in Organizational Studies and a BA in International Studies. She is heavily involved in the Michigan Daily as a Senior Editor of the section Michigan in Color. When she’s not editing her LinkedIn, creating fun to-do lists, or reading about Google, you can find her reading poetry, meeting new and interesting people, listening to comedy podcasts, and chasing her cat.