The Advocacy Success Story Behind Congress’ Paid Internships
How a former intern's insights highlighted the inequities unpaid internships perpetuate
Given all the news coming out of the halls of power on a daily basis, you might have missed a major win for congressional interns last month. But it’s worth noting, because it shows how grassroots advocacy success on one issue can fuel a pivot to another.
Last month, a congressional committee approved a program that will allow congressional interns to be paid as much as $1,800 per month. Previously, individual congressional offices had to budget to pay their own interns, and many did not, so many interns went unpaid.
But then came a push from a group called Pay Our Interns, launched by Carlos Mark Vera, 25, a former unpaid intern. A 2017 report by Vera and a number of collaborators, including cofounder Guillermo Creamer, changed the conversation by listing the congressional offices that were—and were not—paying interns at the time.
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