My time as an intern at Nehemiah over the past eight weeks has been an experience truly unlike any work environment I’ve been in before. There is something so familial about the organization that I don’t think I ever felt much stress or nervousness in any of my interactions, even my interview. Not only was RCA an extremely welcoming and kind presence to be introduced to, but she conducted our Zoom calls in such an eye-opening way. She used the interview as a space not so much to test me, but to get to know me as an individual and start building a relationship already. From being given the questions ahead of time to the transparency of what she was using them for and talking them through together, I remember feeling really comfortable and cared about even as a potential member of the staff, a sense that feels rare in most interviews. Unfortunately, my time as an intern was virtual, but the few times we did get to meet in person, as well as all of our Zooms, were just as inclusive nonetheless.
As a Communications intern, I really enjoyed the variety of projects I had the opportunity to work on. I noticed that my opinion was always asked on what I was interested in doing or if I had any specific avenues I wanted to steer a project towards if I felt so passionate, which I guess I wasn’t used to so much freedom in assignments. Working with Eli, I got to explore technical skills like working on the Mailchimp newsletters, as well as more of a passion project in interviewing and writing a blog post for the website, something I’m proud to be able to look up and share with others. Working on the fundraiser guides and the volunteer onboarding was cool because I got to help potentially extend Nehemiah’s reach in volunteers and support while actively being asked for my own creative input and design. It’s easy to be invested in assignments when you’re already very interested in them.
Of course, Nehemiah is a multicultural, Black-led organization, so the focus on the Justified Anger Initiative was a really unique and special part of my internship. As I am working towards my certificate in African American studies, some of the information or even lectures we watched I had already heard before, but that didn’t make them any less insightful or impactful in the slightest. The way Nehemiah works to uplift Black leaders while also helping to educate stronger white allies is quite honestly an invaluable priority of the organization, and something I know I will not only look deeper into in my future workspaces, but something I myself will more actively bring to the table. The conversations I participated in, the interactions I had, and the skills I learned this summer have made me a better ally, and make me want to share with others what I’ve absorbed, as well as hold accountable more spaces around me.
All in all, my time at Nehemiah has shown me what a healthy, passionate, and functional workplace can and should look like, and I know it will set a standard for many aspects of my life moving forward, wherever I end up. I have become a better thinker, communicator, ally, and become more in tune with myself through this internship, and for that I am truly grateful. Thank you to everyone I worked with, RCA, Eli, Chaplain Farr, all of my fellow interns, and the rest of the staff. I would love to come back and work with Nehemiah sometime in the future, but until then I’m really excited to see what you all accomplish from here on out.