SNAP Fellowships are the core of what we do; equipping ambitious and intelligent young progressives to break into American politics. Although Summer 2016 just came to a close, these Fellows already are feeling the impact of their SNAP experience. They may all come from incredibly diverse and varied backgrounds, but they shared a lifechanging summer. What do they have to say about their SNAP Fellowship?
Scott Elias: "The SNAP fellowship was an invaluable experience that placed me on the front lines of a competitive congressional race in a swing state in the 2012 election cycle. There is no doubt in my mind that the experience, responsibilities, and professional growth associated with my SNAP fellowship has positively influenced my continued commitment to progressive causes, such as the organizing, technological, and policy solutions needed to avert climate catastrophe and maintain a just and livable future on this planet. SNAP's theory of change is unique and prudent, and an investment in SNAP isn't just another political contribution. By investing in the progressive organizing needs of today, you are really cultivating the progressive resources and potential of tomorrow."
Lauren Zack: "In summer 2012 I had the privilege of working on Tim Kaine's Senate race in Northern Virginia. I was paired up with a great team of local organizers, and spent the fellowship knocking doors and calling volunteers and voters in the suburbs of DC, and spent my (limited) free time exploring our nation's capital. The SNAP fellowship allowed me to gain invaluable skills on the ground as an organizer, and teed me up perfectly to take another political organizing job in my hometown when I returned at the end of the summer. The people I met were from all walks of life; coworkers from all over the country (Wisconsin, Oregon, Ohio) and a handful of passionate Virginians rounded out our team. I was also given the opportunity to co-manage a cohort of interns over the weeks, which was a lot of fun. The lessons I learned were invaluable, and when Tim Kaine was tapped to be Hillary's VP, there was an additional layer of excitement knowing I helped contribute to building that ticket."
Samuel Delgado: "In the first week of June, 2016, I landed for my first time in California on my SNAP fellowship. The California primary was june 7th, so the field program was in full swing the day I got on the ground. With some set-backs and staff changes along the way, our team expanded across the district, and I was able to get a position as the Regional field director of our office covering Alameda county. This race is one of the tightest in the country, with Mike Honda consistently polling within 5% of our opponent. The story it tells is one that can be seen across the entire Democratic Party, where we have a true progressive being challenged by a Moderate Democrat who has rubbed elbows with republican donors and has attacked us for being "too liberal". This race has opened my eyes to many of the problems with the democratic system that I intend to work to alleviate when I return home. In a system where races are more or less decided by who raises the most money, it has become all the more crucial to develop grassroots movements to inform the community about exactly what is going on. It has been a great opportunity to meet the individuals that make democracy possible; it goes beyond elected officials and labor leaders. Activists and volunteers that believe in equality for all have been the heart and soul of the campaign and of the progressive movement itself. At a rally for our GOTV program, Dolores Huerta spoke to our guests and told us that the labor movement her and Cesar Chavez worked to mobilize would have been nothing without canvassing and voter registration drives. It has been an honor to be a part of this process and none of my part in it would have been possible without the SNAPPAC summer organizing fellowship. Thank you for beginning my career and showing me that my heart has been in the right place."
Sylvia Jones: "This past summer, I worked as an organizing fellow with (SNAP) Students For A New American Progress. The fellowship was paramount and is the reason why I believe every movement should reflect the diversity of its intended audience. I worked as a grassroots field organizer on a congressional campaign. Through being on the front line of such a competitive campaign and by canvassing neighborhoods, training volunteers, and organizing fundraisers I was able to partake and be a witness to a process that altered both my work ethic and my perspective for the bettter. All of my colleagues were mentors, the network I was able to establish with them in addition to the memory of the experience continues to be an invaluable resource."
Emma Standring-Trueblood: "After graduating college in 2012 with a degree in political science, my fellowship at SNAP PAC gave me an opportunity to put my degree to use. It was the fall of 2012, and I was assigned to a congressional campaign in Palm Springs, CA. The candidate, Raul Ruiz, was a well respected surgeon who had felt the call to public service. It was easy to support such a well-meaning, hardworking candidate. While working for the campaign, I had opportunities to deal with voters directly, manage volunteers, work events, and assist with fundraising. This fellowship showed me what working on a campaign was truly like, and I consider my experience with SNAP PAC invaluable."