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Impressed by Hillary Clinton‘s policies to overhaul the criminal justice system, raise the minimum wage, gain equal pay for women, reduce student debt, strengthen labor unions, tackle gun violence and reform immigration laws, a diverse group of millennials are flocking to work for the Democratic presidential front-runner.
NewsOne this week visited Hillary for America headquarters in New York City’s Brooklyn Heights community to meet five millennials working on the campaign.
They work 12 to 15 hours, pack their own lunch, and bring their own cups and water to the office – because that’s what hipsters do! Besides desks and chairs, the sprawling office, which has sweeping views of the city’s rugged landscape, has multiple work station options, including beanbags and, um, the floor.
Team Hillary employs 511 staffers nationally, and is comprised of 32.2 percent people of color, the campaign says.
Logan Anderson, 22: Digital Content and Creative Strategist
Logan joined the campaign three days after graduating from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a story that’s the stuff of dreams for recent college graduates.
It all started with the tweet of Clinton’s campaign symbol crafted onto her mortarboard while decked in her purple and yellow gown on graduation day on May 14.
Upon discovering that the campaign retweeted the photo, she took the initiative to, well, ask for a job. The native of Houston, Texas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and minor in political science.
It worked. She graduated on Thursday, participated in a video interview the next day, and arrived in New York City in time to start work on Monday. True story.
Her mother likes to call it her social media arts and crafts project that got her a job. But it’s not just about the job for Logan, who is impressed by Clinton’s policies for criminal justice reform and gender rights, among other issues.
“I have always been very interested in politics, so I was very excited when Hillary Clinton announced her campaign,” she said. “And the first speech she made was on criminal justice reform. She speaks eloquently about the tragedy of mass incarceration and the ways in which we have to fix this problem that is plaguing the Black community. The school to prison pipeline is a very real thing. And it really meant something to see the secretary acknowledge that it was tearing apart families and destroying people’s lives and needs to be fixed.”
Logan interned in the communications department at the Louisiana Democratic Party, and served as a summer communications intern for URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity.
Matt Dhaiti, 24: Researcher
As a researcher, Matt has his work cut out for him. When the presidential candidate cites statistics during a speech or debate on gun violence, voter turnout, etc., he likely collected those numbers. So he and his team are under a lot of pressure to get them right.
Working on the Clinton campaign is a natural fit for Dhaiti, because he appreciates her support for comprehensive immigration reform. His parents emigrated from Haiti’s desolate countryside to Northern California.
Although he identifies as Haitian-American, his parents’ experience attuned him to the struggles of immigrants working hard to claim their slice of the American Dream.
Besides immigration, he supports Clinton’s efforts to strengthen and support labor unions, raise the minimum wage, and reform the criminal justice system.
“It goes without saying that the secretary will be better than any candidate on the GOP slate, including Donald Trump and Ted Cruz,” he said. “Her policies are just much better.”
A 2013 graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., he applied to the campaign, well, the old-fashioned way and got the job. Before joining Hillary for America in Brooklyn, he worked for American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive research and communications organization in Washington, D.C., and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a nonpartisan policy and advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., where he focused on policy research on the state level. He began working in politics through internships for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C.
Jasmin Harris, 23: Executive Assistant to the campaign’s Chief Operating Officer Beth Jones.
Jasmin was working in the Obama White House as an executive assistant for the Office of Administration under Deputy Jones, who worked as a deputy assistant. When Jones left the administration to work for the Hillary for America Campaign in May, she brought Jasmin with her to join the operation’s team.
In her mind, it wasn’t a tough decision. She supports Clinton’s call for equal pay for women, criminal justice reform, and addressing gun violence, which Clinton discussed last week at her African-Americans for Hillary launch in Atlanta, Ga.
She is fairly plainspoken about why millennials of color should vote for Hillary Clinton.
“In today’s society, the youth are the people providing for and excelling in their families, so it’s important that we have a candidate who can hear our voice and support us and provide the opportunities that we need to do that by taking an interest in things such as lowering student debt… fighting for equal rights in pay for women is something that spans across all ages.”
A native of Somerset, New Jersey, she graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park in May of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and public relations. She went straight to work at the White House after graduation.
When asked about Clinton and the Black Lives Matter movement, Jasmin said protesters should give Clinton a chance.
“She is making a genuine effort to listen and respond,” Jasmin said. “I think we all need to realize that she is on our side and if we give her a chance to put into action what she’s saying and work together, I think we will have a great outcome.”
Alexandria Phillips, 25: National Media Booking Manager
Criminal justice reform is an important issue for Alexandria, because it’s personal.
“Growing up, my father was in and out of the criminal justice system,” she said. “So criminal justice reform resonates with me. His personal issues aside, it was confusing to have him gone and back and gone and back. So I think it’s really great what the secretary is doing to reform the criminal justice system by identifying and clarifying the issues like appropriate prison-time and sentencing.”
Alexandria is also concerned about racial justice and identity. She has a White mother and a Black father and identifies as African-American.
“Not just on issues of race, people should identify people the way they identify themselves,” and she believes Clinton understands that. Not only that, Clinton supports helping women and families, another issue of importance to her.
She graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies. After graduation, she began working in the office of the president at the Rockefeller Foundation. Later, she worked at the State Department, and joined Clinton in April of 2015.
Michael Stennis, 28: Scheduling Desk in the Vice Chair Department
One of the first things you need to know about Michael is that he exudes positive energy and excitement about his work.
Seriously, look at his picture.
He needs that energy for his job, which involves scheduling nationwide campaign events in New Hampshire and South Carolina, usually four to six days ahead of time
“This is my first campaign, so I’m excited to work on a campaign,” he said. Not only that, Clinton’s candidacy resonates with him because of her policy on criminal justice reform.
“I have anecdotal evidence and family stories I could tell that could be directly related to criminal justice,” he said. “Voting rights is a strong issue for me as a Black American. It means a lot to me in terms of having our community being able to vote, gaining access not only for me and my family and make sure that everyone has access and ability to participate in the system. I think Hillary Clinton understands that and that’s why I’m on her team.”
A native of Seattle, Washington, Michael graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 2009. After graduation, he went to work as a senior operations coordinator for TSG Reporting, a court reporting service. After that, he went to work as a paralegal in Washington D.C. Most recently, he worked for the Vice President’s office as special assistant to Dr. Jill Biden. He joined the Hillary for America Campaign in May of 2015 after hearing about the opening through word of mouth.
He says millennials of color should vote for Clinton because she is focused on a myriad of issues that are important to them, including tackling college affordability. “I carry the weight of my college debt daily and it’s an issue that she has made part of her agenda, and that’s my agenda.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Hillary for America in Brooklyn
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