Halfway through the summer, I have begun to realize how much my story and perspective connects to my internship. Recently, I began to realize that campaigns are about more than a political process. They are also an opportunity for individuals and communities to have a voice.
I am a young man who came to this country in 2015, barely knowing how to speak English (only the essentials, like how to ask for food…). Still, I worked very hard for two years and got into Brandeis University and the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP). MKTYP is a year-long program designed to prepare students to maximize their full college experiences. One class that directly related to my internship was Introduction to American Government with Professor Daniel Kryder. In this course, many topics were discussed, including the Constitution; democracy for realists; inequality, public policy and the American mind; parties and polarization in Congress; and most importantly voting and marching.
At the time, I did not realize how much these topics would continue to support my develop. As a Brandesian, I have observed the way our community highlights the importance of one’s your vote. Now, as a WOW fellowship recipients, through my internship I am beginning to observe how a campaign and its outcomes are driven by people’s vote. It is crucial that every individual exercise their right to vote because EVERY VOTE MATTERS. Beyond the outcomes, casting your vote demonstrates that you’re an active citizen and that you’re looking to change and better your community and lifestyle.
Powerful examples of the links between one’s vote with one’s voice have emerged following the school shooting in Florida. At Brandeis, community members marched outside of classrooms for seventeen minutes in memory to those seventeen students who were killed. They did so to state their discontent with gun violence and to give voice to important issues. At my internship, Representative Carvalho’s team marched in the Dorchester Day Parade and gave out pamphlets. These pamphlets explained how Representative Carvalho was the most qualified candidate to be in the district attorney’s office because as a former assistant district attorney and current state representative, he’s led the fight for criminal justice reform by working to eliminate mandatory minimums for non-violent offenses and raising the age of criminal responsibility. In this way, Representative Carvalho is giving voice to community members. By casting their vote they can give voice to important issues by having someone in service to represent them and to speak for others who seek change.
It’s crucial to show people how much you believe in your candidate, and to share their qualifications and purpose. I also find that it’s equally important to let people know that what happens next in our world is up to them. It’s up to them to decide who they want as the district attorney and whether they want someone working on the social justice issues mentioned above.
I have been in the United States for about three years and moved to this country from Cape Verde during the summer of 2015. I believe I will not have another summer as busy as this one. The summer of 2018 has been the busiest one so far.Thus far, my internship with State Representative Evandro Carvalho is keeping me very busy as I work with the Committee to Elect Evandro Carvalho for District Attorney. I am working on this campaign since Daniel Conley isn’t seeking re-election this year.
Rep. Carvalho represents the Roxbury and Dorchester communities. I ended up working with Rep. Carvalho because a few months after my arrival in the U.S., a high school counselor spoke to me about Rep. Carvalho’s journey– how he went to UMass Amherst and Howard Law School and left a great law firm in Washington D.C. to give back to his community. My counselor told me that working with a successful Cape Verdean man at the State House would look good on my resume. I did in fact end up working with his secretary at the State House and enjoyed organizing paperwork (letters, budgets in spreadsheets, etc.) and opening/closing issues that people called about.
I wish I had the opportunity to actual work with him personally, but Rep. Evandro was always in meetings and/or section. Recently, he reached out to me about his candidacy and I jumped right in without thinking about the pros and cons of a campaign. I really admire his willingness to leave a prestigious law firm in D.C. to give back to the community in which he grew up. Therefore, it is a big deal for me to work for him.
My first day of work had me confused, as my letter of offer stated May 28 as the starting date. “But isn’t that Memorial Day?” I thought. I didn’t think I had to work that day but learned if you are a politician running for any office (specially the DA’s office) you want to be everywhere to interact with people and connect with the community. On Memorial Day, I was THE DRIVER and bodyguard for Rep. Carvalho, but it wasn’t bad at all. I got to be part of at least three Memorial Day events in Boston to demonstrate my appreciation to the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.
After that day, my tasks have been calling voters to explain what Rep. Carvalho stands for and his qualifications for DA. I have encouraged people about how much their support is essential for him to continue his job as a leader. As I speak to the voters and gather support, I ask if they would like a lawn sign to be placed at their residency. Upon consent I drive to their home I place the signs in the lawn, fences or porches. I recruited many friends to volunteer. 🙂
I also create events on Facebook and send them out to his supporters. As I continue to call and gather support from voters, I hope to assist Rep. Carvalho have victory on September 4 as the next DA. His victory is what I hope to accomplish this summer . #Carvalho_for_DA.