On Saturday, May 5, 2018, I had the opportunity alongside the IGNITE ladies from chapters across California and nationwide to attend the “United State of Women Summit” at the Shrine Auditorium. IGNITE encourages young women to actively engage in the political process and assert their beliefs in the public arena. At this summit, we heard from an array of empowered women ready to share their wisdom and knowledge with a new generation of women. I can honestly say after leaving this event that I am eager to aspire to be a better version of myself each day.
I want to be a better version of myself to improve my community and encourage the next generations of young girls to see themselves as leaders too. I want to improve myself because I aspire to be an inspiration to the future generations. As a young child, I never saw myself as an elected official because nobody in my family was involved in politics and my political leaders did not make an effort to speak to younger students. By improving myself, I am becoming the role model that I wish I had. I have been encouraged in my community to be a future leader because I am passionate about the people in my community. I am passionate about making sure they are served adequately. When I am in office, I aspire to be a public servant for the people not a politician.
Some of the speakers were the courageous young women from Michigan State University who were the victims of Dr. Larry Nassar, along with Jane Fonda, Sophia Bush, Dolores Huerta, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, lhan Omar, Kamala Harris, Patrisse Cullors, Amy Wakeland, and none other than former First Lady, Michelle Obama. Each of the speakers evoked a sense of empowerment in every single one of us present. I have never felt the statement “if not us, who? If not now, when?” feel so real.
As an aspiring public servant, with a commitment to one day run for office to represent my community, I was amazed by hearing such powerful women speak on how women are shaping the world. For instance, Amy Wakefield the First Lady of Los Angeles, shared how women are currently running Los Angeles and emphasized the fact that with more women taking on leadership roles in public service, as a unit we are changing the status quo. Wakefield mentioned that Los Angeles has a large number of women who are pursuing public office.
This is definitely something I needed to hear because women ARE changing the face of government and leadership. Women are changing the face of government and leadership because more women are encouraging each other to run. According to NPR, more than twice the number of women are running for Congress in 2018 than in 2016. The women who have inspired me to run for office are Eloise Reyes from the 47th Assembly district and Sabrina Cervantes from the 60th Assembly district. Eloise is my role model because she is passionate about serving her community. Despite all her success, she returned to her hometown in Colton and now represents the area in Sacramento. As a young Latina, I look up to Sabrina Cervantes because she too is a young Latina and a fellow UC Riverside alumna. She is my reminder that anything is possible.
Additionally, I loved the advice former First Lady Michelle Obama gave to the young people in the crowd. She shared the advice that she often repeats to both of her daughters, Malia and Sasha: “Every day you should practice for whoever you want to become in the future.” As a young college woman who sometimes falls into the trap of procrastination and imposter syndrome, this was a powerful statement. Now I am trying to make it a habit and get in the mindset that every day is practice for who I want to be in the future. Every day is an opportunity to improve my skills and meet my goals. Every day, I am waking up with ambition and goals in mind, and I spend my day realizing that goal and fueling my ambition rather than simply planning for it. I am incredibly excited for the future because after this conference and seeing the determination of the other IGNITE girls, I do not doubt that the future is female and that women most definitely run the world.
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