For this week’s civic leadership session, we were able to hear from panels of speakers from the healthcare and non-profit fields, both areas that I am greatly interested and passionate about. The healthcare panel revealed to me the intricate difficulties that come with trying to service a community as complex and diverse as the Asian American community.
This week, I felt very privileged to have the opportunity to research the cannabis market this week for State Treasurer John Chiang, who is assisting the establishment of a state bank for the regulated cannabis market. To one of my friends, they would probably say that since its legalization in California, all forms are cannabis are now legal. However, the policy implications are very different and not nearly that simple.
The Office of Assemblymember Santiago is situated very close to Grand Central Market. District 53 represents Boyle Heights, and one of the staffers at the office reminisced that Grand Central Market “was a completely different place fifteen years ago”. Gentrification is a huge issue in Downtown Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.
This week, my placement in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proved to be yet another week of learning and understanding. Between working on asset mapping with fellow interns, organizing a civic education workshop for Asian Pacific Islander community leaders, working at the Mayor’s Help Desk, touring the Dodgers Stadium, and picking up whatever day-to-day tasks needed to be completed, I came across a multitude of individuals throughout the city working to better their lives or others’.
When it came time to accept an internship for this summer, I had the fortunate difficulty of choosing between two amazing opportunities. The first was to continue working within the student veteran community, which I had been dabbling in over the last four years, or to accept an internship with the CAUSE Leadership Academy, which I had zero ties to.
For the third week of the Leadership Academy program, I had the opportunity to visit Sacramento for the first time with my cohort. I had a great time taking obligatory tourist photos in front of the Capitol building and bonding with my cohort through our plane ride and strolls in Capitol park. But most importantly, I felt so inspired after seeing so many Asian Americans in elected positions and legislative staff, giving hope that maybe one day I can also work in politics.
“Do things with intention.” This is a saying that I’ve always assumed that I’ve instinctively lived by in my work. It’s natural to believe that everyone thinks of themselves as intentional actors. Nevertheless, this first week as a CAUSE intern has challenged me to re-examine my actions with a new critical lens.
Without any context, the idea of spending three whole days with a group of strangers that you’ve just met at a giant AirBnB house in Indio might not sound like an ideal getaway. For me, even just the intense 110F+ degree heat is enough of a reason to not to go on such a trip. However, if it’s for the CAUSE Leadership Academy, it all becomes worth it.
This week, one of my Lyft drivers told me that he has lived in Echo Park for his entire life. Because I have only stayed in Echo Park for a little over a month, I was curious to learn his opinions on how the area has changed over time. I have heard a lot about gentrification and development issues in the area and wanted his take.