Friday, November 14, 2014

An Inspiring Afternoon with an Inspiring Woman

By: Alexis McCruter, NWPC Political Planning and Action Intern

Through my internship at the National Women’s Political Caucus, I was given the opportunity to go to a Leadership Seminar  at Georgetown Law that ended up serving as both an awakening and pivotal experience.  The Leadership Seminar was hosted by Liberty and Access for All, in conjunction with the Black Law Student Association of Georgetown Law School. Liberty and Access for All is a new nonprofit organization committed to raising bipartisan leadership amongst minorities and underrepresented groups in America. When I got there, I immediately started to shake hands and introduce myself to people.  I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that I was in for a treat when the invited speaker walked into the room.

The invited speaker was former Federal Prosecutor Sharon Eubanks. Scurrying to a front row seat, I took out pencil and paper so that I was ready to soak in all the wisdom she was going to give to us. She spoke so transparently about her climb to the top. It’s always refreshing to listen to a professional speaker who has not forgotten the exact place where her audience comes from. She came down to a level at which we all could closely identify with. Her story was not only interesting, but it reignited a flame inside me which had been burning out. Even though the room was full of people, it felt as if she was directly speaking to me.
Ms. Eubanks has led and continues to lead a very successful career. She has proven that as both a woman and a minority, she is a force to be reckoned with. She spoke very openly about the prejudice she faced being a woman of color in her field. There was one point in her presentation where she said something that I, as an African American woman, could closely relate to. She said, “As a black woman, I couldn’t skip any of the ladder steps. My white male counterparts were constantly getting promoted over me and they weren’t half as qualified as I was…. I had to work twice as hard to be just as good.”  I knew all too well the struggle of walking into a room and having to prove and help others see that I actually was qualified to do what I’d come to do.
The second talking point she made that resonated with me was about career moves. Her career in Law was so extensive. She said, “I took what I could get until I could get what I wanted. Most times that will actually lead you to exactly where you need to be.” The idea was so simple but so profound. That was the story of my life seemingly for the last 8 months or so. It was so funny, because even though in some instances I was taking what I could get, it always landed me where I needed to be and even further than my original plan would have gotten me.
I stuck around and waited patiently for her to speak with all those who’d lined up to shake her hand. When the room was near empty I walked up to her and said, “Can I speak with you?” She said, “Sure!” I took a deep breath and asked for her contact information and without hesitation she jotted it all down for me. I was amazed by her willingness to help me. This was by far one of the best experiences my internship has given me. Ms. Eubanks helped me in a multitude of ways.

“Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who's confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.”   Joss Whedon

No comments:

Post a Comment