My name is Elizangi Araujo and I am one of the many bright and amazing students who participated in the Citizenship Tour of 2019! I, along with 17 other students from 10 different programs, got the chance to meet with so many people during this special week. In New York, we had the opportunity to get a tour at NBC Studios with Brett Holey, and when we got to D.C, we had the honor to meet the Mayorkas family at their home. However, I’m here to talk about what happened on our busy Monday.
Upon having to wake up way earlier than we usually did when we were in New York, one of our first meetings was with Danielle Conley, a partner at WilmerHale firm company. As a young minority woman, I find myself attaching to other minority women. The reason seems to be because a lot of their values align with mine. Danielle, along with giving some of our kids advice about paths to pursue if they were interested in law, talked to us about how she got started in her career. She told us that we don’t necessarily have to be in law or the justice system to talk about what you are passionate about or to do what’s right. Right after our meeting with Danielle, we met with Lori Handrahan, who is a humanitarian worker. She talked about how she views a lot of men in power and how the child trafficking issue is a huge issue that is under represented. In the afternoon, we met with Justin Muzinich who is the current Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury (so you know, no big deal or anything). We ended the night with some squash and pizza at George Washington University courts with Anderson, the GW squash coach, who was generous enough to welcome our whole team.
Citizenship Tour has given a ton of kids from a ton of cities so many opportunities to be the amazing people we all are. When I first heard that I was accepted for the Citizenship Tour, I was ecstatic and a little nervous as I realized I was going to be meeting with a whole bunch of important people. But after the first couple of meetings, I realized that mostly everyone had a similar story and wherever they are now is because of all the hard work they’ve done in their life. Hearing all the questions my peers had to ask proved to me that teenagers are the new generation and we are the ones that hold a lot of power. A lot of people disrespect teenagers or give us a bad reputation because of our age or our habits. They think we don’t have a brain on our own or we aren’t aware of the issues around us. I always knew there were teens who were just like me, who cared about their community and political issues and I was able to see that with the other 17 teenagers who I am so grateful to be on this journey with. I’m excited for the next group of teens who get accepted to Citizenship Tour next year, and to all the teens, staff and guest speakers I met this year, I just want to give the biggest thank you ever. This is truly a moment of my life I will never ever forget.