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Cynthia N. Cortez

Highland Park, CA

Cynthia N. Cortez - Entry 2

June 30, 2009

What has been the most challenging moment during your first three weeks of the internship?

The most challenging part of the internship is learning how the congressional office functions. The trust that the congressperson has in their team exemplifies just how important it is to have faith in people working for a common goal-even if the route they are taking appears to be different.

What has been the coolest moment during the first three weeks of your internship?

The coolest moment I've had was with Latinas Learning to Lead. I couldn't help but smile meeting down to earth Latinas radiating genuine passion to help disenfranchised friends and family.  It's empowering to know we come from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds and yet are investing time in D.C. to help our communities.

What experience has most inspired you thus far and why?

Talking with people on what they want out of life. Meeting Latino individuals with impressively complex minds blended with a strong sense of ethics provides me with the energy I need to continue fighting for Latino empowerment. The more people I meet, the more positive I feel about being successful.

If you had to make up a slogan, ten words or less, that represents your internship experience thus far, what would it be?

CHCI: Reconstructing the way you perceive the world.

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Cynthia N. Cortez - Entry 1

June 18, 2009

Please describe your first week in Washington, D.C.

The first week was demanding because so much information was thrown at me. I couldn't escape the need to meditate and reflect on who I am while finding the words to articulate my purpose in DC.
I bring my life experience to strangers in two discomforts: unfamiliarity and professional clothing. And, it's intimidating.

But as one day reminds me of the different dimensions of the Latino experience and another how the Latino coalition is growing and yet lacking so much, I have to think about my contribution to Latino empowerment. I don't have the choice to dismiss any fact, tip, or suggestion thrown my way because I know what is at stake for my peers back home.

Leaders, speakers, and scholars came together this first week to work in a surreal dynamic manner to help give me as many tools as possible to keep my head up on the Hill. Seeing their solidarity and passion to help my development regardless of my politics, I've come to take a deep breath and unlock my ears to anyone who has something to say. And that's something I didn't comfortably feel at home.

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