I may be a little late to the game, but I have just completed my first week interning at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch! Public Citizen is a non-profit public advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. founded by Ralph Nader in 1971. Public Citizen (from its mission statement) “serves as the people’s voice in the nation’s capital” and is comprised of five policy groups, including Congress Watch, the Energy Program, the Health Research Group, Litigation Group, and Global Trade Watch, the division in which I will be working this summer. My first day was an exciting one, and I had the opportunity to attend a Global Trade Watch staff and interns meeting at our Penn Ave office as well as an all-Public Citizen meeting at the main office in DuPont Circle. I was able to meet and introduce myself to the director of the Global Trade Watch division as well as the president of Public Citizen!
Global Trade Watch’s main focus at the moment is campaigning to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, with a trade deal that is more beneficial to the working people and plays less into corporate power. “At the heart of NAFTA are rights for thousands of multinational corporations to sue the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments before a panel of three corporate lawyers, who can award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by us, the taxpayers.” (From the Replace NAFTA website) Global Trade Watch organized a delivery of Replace NAFTA petitions outside of the US International Trade Commission building, attended by several labor organizations and U.S Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)! Later in the week Public Citizen also played a role in protesting outside of Trump’s $35,000 a plate fundraiser for his 2020 presidential campaign.
I am really looking forward to learning more about public advocacy, trade, and political action during my time at Global Trade Watch this summer. As a career goal, I hope to explore the world of public consumer advocacy and law and figure out whether it is something I would like to spend my life doing. I have always wanted to make a difference and fight for the underdog, and Public Citizen seems like a perfect introduction to this world. I also hope to make meaningful connections with my supervisors, other interns, and possible mentors that could serve me well in the future. I hope to make these connections and learn about the field in my day-to-day interactions around the office, and by making a good impression on my employers! I am excited to see what this summer holds.