Noel MendozaBell, CA
July 10, 2009
The Census has been one of the most overlooked events within the Latino community. The numerous misconceptions have not only left the Latino community underrepresented, but have also limited the opportunity to thrive as a community. With the growing influx of Latinos in not only in concentrated areas, but all over the Midwest and southern states, it has become even more vital to raise census awareness. The census makes our government work for us. It determines funding, Congress representation, and planning. Most of all, it gives us a voice and we have to make it count.
June 30, 2009
What has been the most challenging moment during your first three weeks of the internship?
Capitol Hill is composed of underground tunnels and numerous doors that lead to unknown places. My biggest challenge has been trying to get adjusted and finding my sense of direction in an underground world similar to an ant farm.
Having Angelina Jolie visit my congresswoman has been my coolest moment so far. Angelina, who works closely with refugees, visited my office to thank my Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard for her support for humanitarian causes. Another memorable moment was seeing the floor in action, which is a great and rare opportunity for anyone.
What experience has most inspired you thus far and why?
One experience in which I accidently stumbled upon was the Congressional hearing of Chairman Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve. Although I was not aware of what room I entered, I found myself in the midst of an intense questioning and testimonial that struck me-I couldn't believe I was 10 feet away from what many consider to be the 4th most powerful person in the world.
Careful, behind this door you may experience history.
June 19, 2009
Please describe your first week in Washington, D.C.
A few minutes ago as I opened constituent mail it struck me. I stopped, looked at myself, and thought about how deceiving I appeared.
I'm dressed in a neatly blue-striped suit, black polished shoes and flashy new tie, but no one back home would have guessed I open constituent mail on a daily basis. I laughed to myself as I thought about this.
I look like a billion pesos, I look like a chambelan de honor, but I feel extremely privileged to what many interns would refer to as slave labor. These duties are no surprise to me-opening constituent mail, summarizing briefings, answering phones, and replying to constituents.
Apart from these duties, my first week has been a lot more beneficial than what one may initially think. The bells that go off every half an hour remind me that I am not in a typical office. Everyday I am immersed with my fellow coworkers, politics and procedures of my office. I feel as my congressional office embraces my spirit and service.
When I run errands in the interconnected underground tunnels, a natural fit comes upon me. Walking in the same halls as Congress evokes visions as I look for familiar faces, and I am thrilled to almost bump shoulders with individuals who write laws that affect the entire nation. I am grateful and honored to be part of this program because many Latinos are not given this opportunity of not only understanding Capitol Hill, but also experiencing it, which is inaccessible.