At the New American Foundation I struck up a conversation with a woman sitting near me by asking her what organization she was with. Her name was Brandy and I learned that she worked at a foundation in Arlington advising donors to support local non-profits. I did not use any of my elevator speech pitches with her and we did not exchange business cards, but I enjoyed the conversation nonetheless. Brandy asked me all the typical questions such as where I intern, where I am from, what is my major, and what I would like to do when I am done with school. I was able to respond to her inquiries with ease since I did not feel as if I needed to really sell myself to her during our interaction. Instead, it was casual small talk as the other attendees arrived and found their seats. But still good practice for breaking the ice and interacting with new people.
On Thursday I went to the Hill for a press conference about the Democratic bill on immigration reform that was introduced in the House. While my supervisor and I were walking to the site where the press conference was going to be held, I overheard a young woman mention NAFSA, which is an organization for international education. The woman's name is Katie O'Connell and she is the Associate Director of Media Relations and Advocacy at NAFSA. This encounter taught me that all I really have to do is initiate contact to get the ball rolling. Our conversation was very brief, but it ended with Katie giving me her business card.
Several Congresspeople spoke at the press conference, including Representative Luis Gutierrez from Illinois. There were also two activists who spoke: Ben Monterroso of Mi Familia Vota and Mehrdad Azemun from Center for Community Change. I have attended meetings with both of them during my temporary position at Alliance for Citizenship, so it was quite exciting to see some familiar faces behind the podium.
Before we left to go to the Hill, a woman from America's Voice (a partner organization that works closely with Alliance for Citizenship and shares the same office) asked me if I would live stream the press conference to their website using an app called U Stream. After I agreed, she gave me a tripod and some painters tape and told me to just tape my phone to the tripod, the results of which are pictured below. Since I arrived to the press conference well before the professional cameramen, I took the spot front and center, right in front of the podium. Before long, I was flanked on either side by two big video cameras, which made my set up look that much more ridiculous. One of my co-workers at Center for Community Change wanted to document the hilarity of the situation, and he requested that I get in the picture.