by Micah Wilkins, web editor
It was a chance opportunity that allowed junior Courtney Newsome to travel to D.C. and significantly change her perspective on politics.
Newsome was informed about the NC Peace Action Peacemaker Student award through her advisor, Lucy Lawrence. Newsome, fresh from a semester studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, applied and was awarded second place, which included an all-expenses-paid, four-day trip to Washington, D.C., to take part in the FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) Spring Lobby Weekend, March 17-20.
Newsome and others from around the country were trained on how to lobby for an end to the war in Afghanistan. They then met with and lobbied aids of congresspeople, as well as congressman Brad Miller of North Carolina’s 13th District.
“I thought I would go to this conference and be super bored, because they would be talking about politics, and this stuff would be flying over my head,” Newsome said. “But it was super accessible when I got there. They were clear about their goals. [FCNL] was super on top of it.”
After her experiences in D.C., Newsome realized the ease and importance of getting involved politically.
“It’s really not as difficult or not as out of reach as I thought it would be,” Newsome said. “I definitely want to do more, and get more involved, especially with peace stuff, that’s becoming more important to me, as a social worker and as a person in general.”
Since coming back from studying abroad in the fall, Newsome has been on a “kick,” as she explains it, and has sought out ways to serve and participate in the improvement of race relations, particularly in the area.
Since early February, Newsome has been planning an event with the YWCA entitled Stand Against Racism. Newsome attended a planning meeting at the beginning of the semester, and was asked to be the co-chair of the event. She, in addition to five other Wilson students, will help facilitate a workshop with area high schoolers about racism April 29.
Newsome sees race relations as one of her passions, but she finds herself to be influenced by the many perspectives that she came across last weekend.
“One cool thing about my trip to D.C. was that I got to meet other students who are doing a lot of awesome things in their own communities and schools,” Newsome said. “Learning about what other people are doing that are our age was really inspiring. It’s invaluable.”