This past summer I spent 10 weeks living in a city that I’d never even visited before. Every weekday I woke up to the 80-degree weather in New York City. The 35-minute Q train ride would take me from Flatbush, Brooklyn to my fellowship in downtown Manhattan. My fellowship with Citizen’s Union and living in NYC for the summer were invaluable experiences.
I got my fellowship with Citizen’s Union through Tisch Summer Fellows, an internship program at Tufts. It was an interesting summer of politics in NYC. I was introduced to good government policies, such as campaign finance reform and rank choice voting, as well as policies that I knew nothing about before the summer. From watching the drama of the Queens’ District Attorney race unfold to office predictions about which of the 25 candidates would take the Democratic nomination, I learned so much about politics. Tisch Summer Fellows also gave me other opportunities to learn through intern meet-ups, alumni talks, and a summer mentorship.
One of the most memorable days was when we traveled to the state capital with other groups to push the state senate to hear and pass Automatic Voter Registration. Passing the bill meant automatically registering 1.1 million New Yorkers. Although I wasn’t part of the long process of getting the bill to the legislature, I could feel everyone buzzing with excitement. You couldn’t miss us. We were a group of around 30 people with our pastel “Let NY Vote” posters walking around the state legislature. The next day, we got the sad news that the bill did not pass because of a typo.
On June 27th, our team walked a few blocks to the New York Supreme Court to see the Attorney General announce that the court blocked the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. This landmark moment meant that immigrant communities could be counted without fear. That same evening, immigrants’ rights groups rallied outside of City Hall park to celebrate the historic win. I am so happy that I got to take part in these moments and celebrations.
During my free time, I was a tourist. I would spend the whole day with friends sitting in Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park or any other park I could find. I had to make time for good food from places like Smorgasburg. I wandered around museums and went to free concerts by myself. Most importantly, I tried not to get lost on the MTA. I learned that while NYC is charming, I did not see myself returning post-grad. Nonetheless, it was a summer full of excitement and growth!