Staff Profile: Evelyn Pineda — Political Outreach Intern

How long have you been interested in politics? Do you remember when you first decided you wanted to explore this career path?

There isn’t a pin point in time in which I remember becoming interested in politics, because politics has been so closely tied to my life for as long as I can remember whether I knew it or not. Growing up in an immigrant family in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and later the Southwest side, I am a witness to the economic, educational and environmental inequities that we face in our communities. From a very young age, these experiences did not sit with me well and so I began to research ways in which I could become an advocate for immigration reform, access to education as well as other pressing issues. However, it was the stark differences I observed between the lives of those in my community and the lives of my peers at the private high school I attended — and the rage that ensued — that fueled my passion for social justice and in turn, interest in politics. I began to really understand the ramifications of the inaccessibility of politics as well as the need for representation and accountability.

Tell us a little bit about your experience with the campaign this summer. What were some things you didn’t expect to learn but did anyways?

I will admit that while I was interested in politics prior to working on this campaign, I had zero experience and involvement in local politics. But I was thrilled that I would have the opportunity to immerse myself in this work and learn from the rest of the team. Working on the campaign this summer has been incredibly rewarding in so many ways. I am grateful to work alongside people that are thoughtful, passionate and extremely driven to fight for the issues that drive this campaign forward. I was initially very nervous and apprehensive about my capabilities, but the team was super welcoming which allowed me to ask questions and in turn gain confidence in the work I was producing.

At the beginning of August, I transitioned to working alongside Alex and Teah on fundraising which is an area I did not expect to learn about or work in by the end of the summer. Fundraising is a crucial component to running a campaign, and yet it is one of the most complicated tasks to fulfill when running a grassroots campaign like this one. I feel honored to be able to learn from both of these women.

What has been your favorite moment working on the campaign so far?

Launching Students for Emmons as an official group on Facebook is definitely one of my favorite moments! Prior to launching the group, Teah and I had invested hours in outreach, emailing, texting and calling students, members of the community and others to inform them about the campaign and solicit support. Some efforts were successful while others were a bit discouraging, but it was amazing to see all of our work pay off in such a tangible manner. It served as a reminder that, like the rest of the hardworking team, we just need to keep pushing to drive this movement forward.

So we know you’re both sticking around through the school year, and we couldn’t be happier to have you, but what’s next after working with Robert? Any big plans?

This fall I am entering my second year of my undergraduate career at Swarthmore College, therefore I still have a lot of uncertainty of what my future will hold. I have always had an interest in pursuing a career in law and so these next few years I hope to prepare and explore opportunities that will allow me to pursue that post graduation!

Robert Emmons