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Reflections of my time interning with OBV

OBV Intern

OBV Intern

When I was first notified that I would be paired with Operation Black Vote (OBV) during my time in London, I was nervous. How will a white American college student fit in at an organisation that is centered on Black and minority ethnic communities? At the time that I received my internship placement, I was still in Boston, knew very little about London, and absolutely nothing about OBV. However, I told myself that I was going to London for a new experience, and although I had never worked for an organisation like OBV, I would be open and willing to the opportunity.

I was interviewed by Francine Fernandes, the head of shadowing schemes for OBV, a couple of weeks before my internship started in February, and I was immediately attracted to what OBV does and what it stands for. During my interview, Francine explained to me the goals of OBV and the various projects and schemes that are carried out, very successfully, by the OBV team. At my interview I also had the opportunity to meet the people that I would be working with, all who extended a warm welcome to me. I was no longer nervous to start my internship, rather I was looking forward to being able to work with such a passionate group of people, and for a cause that positively affects so many in the UK.

The majority of my time spent at OBV has been working on the 2010 MP Shadowing Scheme. This scheme aims to provide support and guidance for individuals with an interest in becoming seriously involved in political life. For the scheme, I helped to organise the applicant’s information and became the main point of contact for the newly selected shadows. With a general election underway, I worked on placing all of the shadows with their local parties so that they may have the opportunity to engage with party members and candidates before their work with MPs.

Throughout the time that I have spent with OBV, my eyes have been opened to a world of issues of which I was never aware. The inequalities that black and other minority ethnic people face every day are overbearingly present in British society. There are people everywhere who feel that they have been denied something because of their ethnicity. OBV is taking the steps to foster participation, in order to achieve a government that represents all of the UK.

OBV has taught me that it is possible to pursue a dream and turn it into something real, something that has a positive impact. OBV has given a voice to so many people who believed that they would never have a voice in their community and in doing so has become a warrior for justice. The work of OBV is incredibly respectable, and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to be a part of such an organisation.

Jayme M. Williams

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