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.
She met up with the previous Boston Fellow, Rae’Niqua K. Victorine, and was motivated to apply for the Fellowship. For Anna, becoming a Fellow was about amplifying the voices of underrepresented people in politics. “People who have traditionally been left out of the political process, largely womxn of color, low-income and genderqueer folks, should be given the tools and resources they need to successfully run for office. We need more equitable representation in this country, and we need it now,” Anna says.
Anna is no stranger to politics. In fact, her interest in politics goes back to the 6th grade, which was the first time she ran for class president and won. Anna served as class president from 6th grade until her final year of high school. Her mom, who is a pastor and community leader, as well as her father who is a leader in the Latinx community of Mississippi, sparked Anna’s interest in being a community leader herself.
As the Boston Fellow, she has hosted several events around Boston that have sparked a similar interest in other young women, helping them realize their own potential. “Being a Fellow feels like being a connector. There’s this really important role of connecting other people with important resources, with other young women and with mentors who can provide guidance.”
Her very first event was a political mobilization brunch and was all about giving young women the confidence to run for office. She invited the student body presidents from universities all around, who were all women of color, to speak with attendees. One of her favorite IGNITE memories was when she conducted a Q&A with Valerie B. Jarrett during the Young Women Run New York conference.
For her, the best part of the Fellowship is the connection she has with other Fellows. “Through working together to make this nation a more equitable and just place, this amazing network of women have become my tribe. My IGNITE sisters are part of my life.” Throughout this Fellowship, Anna feels like she’s grown as a leader and has also grown the confidence she has in herself. She shares that she has been able to paint a picture of what her motivators really are, and what political issues keep her going.
Anna is especially interested in advocacy and social change. She currently studies spirituality and healing in graduate school, and once she graduates, hopes to continue her involvement in grassroots community organizing for underrepresented groups.
“I think what’s so special about the Fellowship is that, no matter what, you will grow.”
Interested in becoming an IGNITE Fellow? Learn more here.