On this day: Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat
December 01, 2023
By Gloria Jiang, Communications and Content Intern at the ERA Coalition
Interning at ERA Coalition has been an eye-opening and transformative experience to me. From day one, I was plunged into a fast-paced environment where passion meets purpose, working alongside a dedicated team focused on creating tangible change. The unique blend of advocacy, education, and community engagement has provided me with invaluable insights into the complexities of social justice work. Whether I was assisting with writing educational blog posts or designing relevant graphics, every task felt imbued with a sense of significance. This internship has not only honed my professional skills but also deepened my understanding of the critical role that organizations like ERA Coalition play in pushing society toward a more equitable future.
I clearly recall searching for an internship back in March and stumbling upon ERA Coalition’s job listing on Handshake. The moment I read the job description, I applied without a second thought. The role of Communications and Content Intern seemed like the perfect fit for me, especially since I was eagerly looking for an opportunity.
As an international student borned and raised in China, I was unaware of the ERA until I read about it on the ERA Coalition’s official website.
In my interview with Chrisi and Velu, Chrisi walked me through the various departments of the organization and asked about my specific interests. I chose to focus on gender equality because it is a pervasive issue globally that demands immediate action. Growing up in a small city in Jiangsu Province, I was often exposed to outdated gender stereotypes, especially from the less educated older generations. I frequently heard adults discussing divorce as if it were a catastrophic event in a woman’s life. Moreover, harmful stigma often dictates how individuals should behave based on their gender, such as the notion that women should be caretakers while men should be providers. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, but they illustrate the pervasive nature of gender inequality in our daily interactions and cultural norms. All these led to my decision to take this internship. I felt the urgency and significance of the ERA and I wish to use my own ability to let more people know about it and garner their support.
My internship experience has been a diverse and enriching journey, thanks to a multifaceted role that involved writing weekly blog posts, creating graphic designs, and editing video content. Crafting blog posts each week allowed me to dive deep into various topics, honing my research and writing skills while contributing meaningful content to our online community. On the graphic design front, I got to work closely with the social media team to produce visually engaging materials that supported our campaigns and events. This helped me understand the power of visual storytelling. Additionally, editing videos gave me hands-on experience in visual media, teaching me how to design the video layout and convey complex ideas succinctly and effectively. This task also allowed me to delve into the world of YouTube content creation for the first time, laying the groundwork for my future career in social media. Balancing these different responsibilities was challenging but incredibly rewarding, offering me a comprehensive view of how various elements come together to create impactful digital advocacy.
One of the most interesting things during my internship is constant research. Research might not sound like the most exciting part of social justice work, but it is undeniably crucial. During my time at the ERA Coalition, I delved into legislative histories and judicial precedents related to the ERA to better prepare myself for this role. I also tracked the impact of gender-biased laws and policies on various demographics. Additionally, the varying monthly themes for our blog posts introduced me to a host of festivals and observances both in the U.S. and globally, many of which I was unaware of. This broadened my learning horizons; for instance, while researching a blog post for National Black Month, I became aware of the systemic barriers affecting black families in areas like education, employment, housing, and healthcare. I also found it uplifting to see the younger generation actively campaigning for the ERA’s inclusion in the U.S. Constitution as a way to improve society for the future during my research for a blog post about International Youth Day. What this experience taught me is that thorough research is the foundation of successful advocacy; it lends weight to our claims and provides us with the facts needed for persuasive arguments.
In conclusion, my internship experience at ERA Coalition has been immeasurably transformative. Immersing myself in a mission-driven environment advocating for gender equality and the ratification of the ERA, I have grown both professionally and personally. I have not only garnered invaluable skills, but also have been inspired by the passionate individuals dedicated to making constitutional equality a reality. This journey has been an indispensable chapter in my professional story, and I am grateful to ERA Coalition for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a pivotal movement.
Gloria graduated from the National University of Singapore with a BSc in Communication and New Media and is currently pursuing her MS in Communication at Northwestern University.