By Tyler Holloway
YWCA NCA Summer Intern
On Thursday, July 18, the YWCA National Capital Area visited the U.S. Capitol. It’s a trip I will never forget.
When it comes to politics, I am usually not all that interested, but that quickly changed after this special trip. I was accompanied by Alvin Kim, a fellow YWCA NCA intern, and LeAnn Harley, YWCA NCA staff member. We decided to visit the Capitol because neither Alvin nor I had been before, and we had passes to see the House of Representatives vote on the House floor.
Alvin and I had the amazing opportunity to meet with our Congressman from each of our hometowns. We scheduled a face-to-face interview with Congressman Steve Cohen from Tennessee, and Alvin was very excited to chat with him. Alvin and Congressman Cohen talked about Alvin’s summer internship with the YWCA NCA, what his future education and career goals included, and his interest in politics – especially regarding racial justice and equality. Alvin told me that “[g]etting to see the Congressman up on the Hill was an incredible experience. It was amazing that we got to tour the U.S. Capitol building at all. Before my internship at the YWCA NCA, I never expected that I would get the chance to meet a Congressman from my home state.”
I, on the other hand, had a different encounter with my Congressman. As we were on the way to meet with Congressman Cohen, Craig, the Director of Operations for Congressman Cohen, called out on the elevator, “Congressman, you have a fellow North Carolinian among you.” I raised my head to see who he was talking to, and that is when I met Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina. What a coincidence that he was on the same elevator! We stepped off at his stop to take a picture and chat for a while. He actually covers about 60% of my hometown of Durham, including my district. He gave me his business card and told me to visit him anytime in the downtown Mutual Building. I was very surprised and caught off guard; never in a million years would I have thought to meet a Congressman, let alone my own! Congressman Butterfield was very nice and personable; he made it very easy to talk with someone of such high credentials. We spoke about my internship with the YWCA NCA, and my interest in learning more about politics in the future.
From then on my spirits were high with whatever was to come next on our visit. After talking with Congressman Cohen, in walked former Speaker of the House and current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – the highest-ranking female politician in the nation. We were all in shock when she entered the room, and it was another surprising and unforgettable moment on our trip.
We then headed downstairs in the Capitol building, where we had a personal tour and were able to see all the different statues, including Rosa Parks and Fredrick Douglass.
This trip was an awesome experience and definitely changed my perspective on politics. We had a great time and I have to thank LeAnn and the YWCA NCA for giving us this unforgettable opportunity.
Tyler Holloway is a junior attending Winston-Salem State University, studying exercise science. She is from Durham, N.C.