Fellow Spotlight: Sydney Lee

As the daughter of an elected official, Sydney Lee is no stranger to the political realm. In fact, when she was applying to be an IGNITE Fellow, she was also running for student body president at the same time. Sydney ended up winning the student body president position by the highest margin her university had ever seen, becoming the second black person to hold that position. 

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Fellow Spotlight: Chiquita Jackson

Chiquita Jackson has always been an advocate for her community, and wanted to find ways to become even more involved. As she was researching political fellowships, she stumbled across IGNITE and decided to attend the National Young Women Run conference last year. While there, she learned that the IGNITE Fellowship was coming to her city, and knew that this was her chance to seize the opportunity. 

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Fellow Spotlight: Kaya Jones

After attending the National Young Women Run conference in D.C., Kaya Jones was inspired to become an IGNITE Fellow.  “Being around all those great women really motivated me, I just wanted to be in an environment like that,” she shares. When it was announced that the IGNITE Fellowship would come to Philadelphia, Kaya jumped at the opportunity to lead her community. 

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Fellow Spotlight: A. Mayleen Mermea

At a political conference in 2015, one of the hosts came up to Mayleen Mermea and told her that she should run for office. This comment was something Mayleen had never expected. “I had never in my life been told that. She didn’t know it at the time, but she planted a seed,” she says. Since then, Mayleen told herself that she would run for office, and took it upon herself to learn more about what it really means to be political. When she heard about IGNITE’s National Young Women Run conference in D.C. in 2017, Mayleen knew she would let nothing stop her from going. 

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Fellow Spotlight: Shradha Parekh

Shradha wasn’t always interested in politics while growing up, but she quickly became interested after the 2016 election. She realized she was passionate about a lot of political issues in her community, but didn’t know where to find other people who had those same passions. When she stumbled upon the IGNITE Fellowship, she knew she was presented with an opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals. She applied to the Fellowship and became the first Columbus Fellow over two years ago. 

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Fellow Spotlight: Cecilia Ruesta

When Cecilia Ruesta came across IGNITE through an email from her professor over two years ago, she knew she wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to continue helping her community. “What caught my eye in the email was IGNITE’s mission. Empowering young women and trying to reach gender parity is something that I was passionate about as well,” shares Cecilia. She has served as the Central Valley Fellow for over two years. 

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How to talk politics with your friends and family

When you’re with your friends and family, you might talk about upcoming plans, a favorite TV show, or something funny you saw online. Do you find yourself avoiding topics that are stressful, like politics? It’s hard to do these days when everything feels political! With Gen Z and Millennials making up 37% of the electorate, talking politics is one way to flex your power and educate friends and family members on the issues you care about. 

Talking politics isn’t easy but it doesn’t have to be stressful or uncomfortable. It’s important to have open, non-judgmental conversations with the people you care about. You may not change their minds, but we promise everyone involved will learn something in the process! Here are some tips for talking politics with your friends and family. 

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What is Juneteenth?

On June 19, 1865, troops entered Galveston, Texas to ensure that all enslaved people were freed. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery and is considered the longest-running African American holiday according to History.com

Traditionally, Juneteenth is a day of celebrating freedom, with festivals and marches taking place across the country in honor of the day. Although Juneteenth is not recognized as a federal holiday yet, 47 states recognize it as a state holiday or observance according to PBS. And more and more businesses and companies are giving employees the day off to celebrate. 

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Fellow Spotlight: Anais Franco

After learning about the lack of female leadership in politics during a presentation from a previous Fellow, Anais Franco knew what she had to do. “I knew that I wanted to be part of the fight towards gender parity in our political system to help create much needed change in our society.” She applied to become the IGNITE Southern California Fellow, motivated by the idea of creating a space for young leaders to spark change in their communities. 

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Fellow Spotlight: Anna Del Castillo

After attending the National Young Women Run conference in D.C., Anna Del Castillo felt inspired by seeing other women own their political power. Later on, she and her best friend ended up running for student body president and vice president on campus, and she realized she wanted to join a collective of women running for office or who were interested in leadership. She had continued to stay up to date with IGNITE throughout the school year and decided to reach out.

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