First, what does the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) organization do? It’s simple, they are an advocate for all things LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans-gender/sex, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally and beyond). They raise funds, advocate for policy domestically and internationally, and serve as a voice to a community that often times felt they had to hide their true identities for fear of retribution simply for living their truest self. This is in addition to the many other things HRC does for the LGBTQIA+ community at large. And to state is simply, the list of all they do for that community is too long to post here.
Alas, my Human Rights Campaign (HRC) journey began one afternoon while I was casually scrolling Facebook and job sites simultaneously.
I was at a crossroads in my life and was looking for a job or internship to take me away from the heat of the Arizona summers; and as if fate would have ordained it herself – HRC’s internship program popped up on my computer screen.
I was going to intern during the Fall semester of 2013.
The LGBTQIA+ rights and advocacy movement had grown from a ground-swell to something impossible to ignore in the U.S. at this time.
More Gays and Lesbians had more rights at this time than at any point in history.
Of course, just because forward progress was being made, I was of the opinion that my work as an advocate for the cause of LGBTQIA+ equality should not coming to a close. There was lots of work to be done and I knew then (as I know now) that I can still be part of the change I want to see in the World.
This journey took me to the East Coast, I lived and worked in the Nation’s Capitol – Washington, D.C.
My title: Communities and Volunteer Relations (CVR) intern.
My role: Coordinate with senior staff on the CVR team, in addition to volunteers and volunteer coordinators on a national-level.
My major project of the semester: Help organize volunteers for HRC’s National Dinner, which serves as a major fundraising and awareness event.
The event (we liked to joke) drew a few thousand of HRC’s closest friends and family to town.
It was also set to draw the President of the United States of America – Barack Obama.
The buzz was hitting a fever pitch the week before the national dinner.
Unfortunately, Obama (nor Vice President Joseph Biden) would not attend our dinner, as budget negotiations were stalled in Congress.
Alas, we did have a few celebrity guests, including: Sara Bareilles (as talent/vocals for the evening); Jennifer Lopez (as a Ally award recipient) and Gloria Steinem (a renowned feminist, journalist and social political activist; who became nationally recognized as a leader and a spokeswoman for the American feminist movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s).