I do belong. – Alejandro Rodriguez

OUT ON THE HILL is the official blog of the Victory Congressional Interns. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of LGBTQ Victory Institute. Learn more about the internship at victoryinstitute.org/vci

Growing up I always felt an opportunity of working on The Hill was out of my reach. I believed that until pretty recently actually…it wasn’t until President Trump and Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez that I started to believe maybe I could make it. An opportunity presented itself and I submitted my VCI application, though I told myself not to get my hopes up (despite them still breaking through the ceiling), I can’t express enough how thankful I am for listening to that little voice within me that said, “Do it.” Those weeks waiting to hear back were excruciating, however, it was worth the wait.

Up until my arrival last Sunday, I did not have an ounce of nervousness. I was simply overwhelmed with excitement. However, during my first night I began to experience imposter syndrome and the nervousness began to set in. I decided to take an Uber to the National Mall to allow myself a chance to just take it all in. Arriving at the Capitol that evening, I couldn’t help but begin to tear up. Thinking of all the trials and adversities I have faced and conquered in my short 23 years and now, looking up at our nation’s Capital knowing I would be working there for the next ten weeks was beyond fulfilling. I had a sense of pride, accomplishment, and overwhelming excitement. Here I am a first-generation college student, hailing from a low income, single mother household- overcoming all the obstacles meant to hold me back and now I’m a Congressional Intern. I finally began to believe in the “American dream.”

Meeting my fellow interns was the icing on the cake. I can honestly say I admire and love each and every one of them. I’m so happy to be on this journey with three other motivated and accomplished LGBTQ+ people of color like myself. We are actively breaking down barriers and conquering the system that was built against our communities. I’m beyond grateful to Victory and their staff that make this possible.  The people I will meet and have already met all come from impressive professional backgrounds and because of Victory, I’m blessed with the opportunity to learn from them, speak with them, and form professional relationships with them. The opportunities that will arise out of this single opportunity are abundant and I will never take them for granted. I am grateful and overcome with emotion thinking about all the individuals that do not personally know me, yet are still invested in my growth.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I ride on the shoulders of my ancestors onto Capitol Hill each day with a sense of responsibility and purpose.

Now being able to reflect upon this last week I can see that I do belong here. I’ve worked hard, I stayed focused, and I do in fact deserve this opportunity. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I ride on the shoulders of my ancestors onto Capitol Hill each day with a sense of responsibility and purpose. A purpose that I will continue to chase. A responsibility I’m obligated to and more than motivated to not only adhere to but to also carry throughout my political career. This is only the beginning. The beginning of a very fulfilling, inspiring, and groundbreaking story of a boy that could- becoming a man that has. A story of a dream becoming a reality.