WPP Interns Take on Social Advocacy
YWCA Brooklyn’s mission is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Among the programs that furthers our mission is the YW LEAD, college access and leadership program, serving low-income girls of color. YWCA Brooklyn WPP interns are selected from our YW LEAD participants.
A core focus of the internship experience at YWCA Brooklyn is on developing advocacy skills. Our interns learn the importance of being an advocate and the skills needed to act, speak and write in support of a person or an issue. In learning to be an advocate our interns see that their voice has the potential to make changes in their school and community. Our interns have been very active and vocal in identifying issues that impact their daily lives as young women of color in NYC and finding ways to make their voices heard.
On May 10th, two YWCA Brooklyn interns testified at the Youth and Community Speak Out on Equity, Diversity and Admissions: The State of High Schools in New York City Forum, hosted by NY state senators. To prepare, the interns reflected on their personal stories of facing inequality in NYC public schools. Upon reflection they worked with YWCA Brooklyn staff to craft the specific message they wanted to communicate and how to say it effectively.
On May 30th YWCA Brooklyn interns were invited to a special panel at the Capitol building in Albany, hosted by Elizabeth de León Bhargava, Deputy Secretary for Labor & Workforce for the Office of NY State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The panel was comprised of elected officials who are women of color. Interns learned about the career trajectory of women of color in leadership, had the opportunity to ask questions and network with panelists. After the panel, interns met with their local elected officials to advocate for specific bills that impact their communities. The day culminated with sitting in on the senate in session and being welcomed by Senator Montgomery.
To prepare for this event interns, researched the panelist bios and prepared questions. In addition, some interns helped plan the day by managing marketing and outreach to other YW LEAD participants.
In learning to be advocates out interns are elevating their voices to become change agents while developing critical thinking, effective communication, public speaking, problem solving, teamwork and collaboration, all critical soft skills needed in today’s workforce.