Working for Peace: First Week at Massachusetts Peace Action

This summer I am working as a Legislative Intern for Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to develop the sustained political power to foster a more just and peaceful U.S. foreign policy. Massachusetts Peace Action is an affiliate of Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace and disarmament membership organization in the U.S., with some 100 chapters nationwide. Through grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, and community education, we promote human rights and global cooperation, seek an end to war and the spread of nuclear weapons, and support budget priorities that redirect excessive military spending to meeting human and environmental needs in our communities.

My experience with this organization began in late May when I attended the Peace Action National Organizers Conference and Lobby Day in Washington D.C.. During the first two days, representatives from Peace Action chapters from around the country (California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New York, Florida, Ohio, etc.) met and discussed foreign policy and the role of the national Peace Action organization in the affairs of the affiliates. Some of the policy topics that we covered were the Syrian War, nuclear disarmament, the People’s Budget, Saudi Arabia/ Yemen conflict, and climate justice. It was fascinating to not only hear the perspectives of progressive leaders from around the country on these issues but also to learn about the framework of the organization and non-profit work in general. There were also several student chapters represented including Syracuse U., Tufts U., Harvard U., Hofstra U., and several state colleges from New York. It was helpful to engage in political discussion and form alliances with other students who share a similar vision.

Peace Action delegates at the National Organizers Conference in Washington D.C.
Peace Action delegates at the National Organizers Conference in Washington D.C.
MAPA interns in front of the United States Capitol building.
MAPA interns in front of the United States Capitol building.

On the final day of the trip, along with other delegates from the Massachusetts Peace Action, I participated in lobby meetings with all of the eleven Massachusetts federal legislators or their staff. It was such an amazing experience to travel between the Senate and House offices on Capitol Hill and actually speak with the individuals who develop policy and represent large populations of Massachusetts residents. Often times it seems that officials in Washington are alienated from the public so it was interesting to get some insider knowledge of the legislative processes of the federal government and other congressional procedures.

MAPA interns with MA Senator Elizabeth Warren!
MAPA interns with MA Senator Elizabeth Warren!
Members of Massachusetts Peace Action meet with MA Rep. Jim McGovern.
Members of Massachusetts Peace Action meet with MA Rep. Jim McGovern.

Since my return from Washington D.C., I have been working in the MAPA headquarters in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA) and have been involved in a wide range of tasks including fundraising, community outreach, event planning, and legislative affairs.

I am really looking forward to the rest of the summer and hope that I will be able to continue strengthening my network by building friendships and alliances with those that I meet along the way.

Remington Pontes ‘17

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