Our Journey. – 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

Here I am winding down week six heading into the seventh. This is a bittersweet moment during the internship as I come to realize that this experience will be coming to an end. Reflecting on these past six weeks honestly brings tears to my eyes. I am beyond thankful and can say I am proud of myself. This experience thus far has been somewhat like an alternate reality. I can think back and remember my life back home in Indiana, but it seems like a hazy memory slowly fading. Walking the streets of DC gives me such euphoria. Especially on my walks to work each morning, though I am not a morning person at all, once I see the Capitol dome my exhaustion melts away and I am suddenly reborn and feel the fire within me grow. My pace quickens and my heart begins to race, and I’m reminded once more that I’m here. 

Being here in DC is only the beginning. Thanks to Victory, I am not only meeting but also engaging in conversations with highly established and inspirational LGBTQ+ leaders. My network has grown exponentially. My thoughts and overall mindset have been pushed, stretched, and expanded due to these experiences and conversations. My work on the Hill has been very fulfilling. My director and my supervisor are always reminding me and my fellow interns how thankful and appreciative they are of the work we do every day for the House Democratic Caucus Office. Although times get stressful and some days, I may feel like I am not enough my team reminds me how strong and how capable I am. They inspire me to push through and give my best effort always and when I complete tasks that I initially felt I couldn’t complete – I not only complete them but I get complimented on my work. My confidence has grown. I have everything within myself and have learned to stop doubting my abilities. 

These next few weeks I want to dedicate to getting out and exploring more of our nation’s capital. Museums, cultural centers, monuments, and the various neighborhoods that have each have their own personalities. I want to soak it all in while I can. I do not take this experience for granted. Growing up in poverty an opportunity like this seemed like a dream that my hands could only reach for but could never hold however, I am so thankful for being raised by a strong Latina woman that instilled within me the fire to live up to my potential, to set goals and continuously strive towards my wildest dreams. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be the motivated individual I am today. This may seem dramatic, but I honestly tear up every time I reflect on this experience. Being here not only allows countless doors of opportunity to open in my favor but on top of that I am inspiring and proving a point to my community, my friends, and my family. I think especially long and hard about the example I am setting for my nieces and nephews back home. I am teaching them that with hard work and perseverance they can not only chase their wildest dreams, but they can hold them, and they can savor in the moment of achieving those dreams. Throughout this journey I am on, I know I am not alone, and I continuously recall that I am not only doing this for myself- but for my family, for my community, por mi gente.