things that matter

She Hasn’t Started Her Term Yet And AOC Is Already Offering Interns $15 An Hour

ocasio2018 / Instagram

If you want 2019 to be all about making positive changes in your life and working to better the lives of the American people, you may want to look into a job in politics. The problem with most civic jobs — such as teachers, council members, working at a non-profit — is that they don’t pay much. In fact, just to get your foot in the door landing an unpaid internship is the only way to go. Thankfully some people are looking out for the common man because they know what it’s like to hustle for money.

Newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is looking to hire interns and is offering at least $15 an hour.

CREDIT: Instagram/@iridescentwomen

“Time to walk the walk,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who hasn’t technically started her new job in Washington, is ge changes. Paying her interns is one of them.

According to The Washington Post, a 2017 study found that only 8 percent of House Republicans and 4 percent of House Democrats pay their interns.

The Washington Post also reports that while some senators pay their interns (51 percent to 31 percent); House representatives pay even less (8 percent to 3.6 percent).

This year, however, President Trump has approved a bigger budget for senators, which means they now have money to pay interns.

CREDIT: Twitter/@thehill

According to reports, this year money allotted for senators’ staffing increased from $871 million last year to $920 million for 2018. But it’s still their choice whether they choose to use that money for staffing or other costs.

Thanks to Carlos Mark Vera, founder of advocacy group Pay Our Interns, senators are now feeling the pressure to pay their interns.

“I write to encourage your office to take action and use some of the surplus funds to launch a paid internship program,” Vera wrote in a letter to senators. “So that, once again, opportunities on Capitol Hill are open to all young people, and not just those who can afford to work for free.”

Ocasio-Cortez broke down how the funds are used, and how lawmakers are allowed to do what they want with their own budget.

CREDIT: Instagram/@ocasio2018

“Each member of Congress gets around $1.2 million (give or take a bit) for their entire operating budget,” she said on Twitter. “That’s supposed to cover all salaries (DC and district), rents for district offices, travel home, tech devices, services, contracts, etc. Members decide how it’s all spent.”

She went on to say that “There’s a little wiggle room—everyone isn’t given the same exact amount, but it’s pretty close. If you’re from a district with high transportation costs, high rents (urban/suburban areas), or both, it can have the potential to pressure wages downward for similar operations.”

She’s basically getting $20,000 to hire four interns. But as she said, she wants to pay them at least $15 an hour.

CREDIT: Twitter/@Ocasio2018

Are you interested in working for her? Apply here. And good luck.


READ: It’s The 21st Century And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Using Social Media To Call Some Things Out

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These Milk Cartons Are Bringing Attention To The Number Of Children Detained By The U.S.

things that matter

These Milk Cartons Are Bringing Attention To The Number Of Children Detained By The U.S.

Javier Rojas / mitú

During the 1980s and ’90s, photos would be put on milk cartons to raise public awareness about children who’d gone missing. 72U, a creative residency within agency 72andSunny, is now doing the same by installing a larger-than-life milk carton on Venice Beach to represent the more than 14,000 children who are currently detained by the U.S. government. The non-profit chose to highlight this issue because of the alarming number of detained children had risen from 2,400 in 2017 to over 14,000 in 2018.

The two-story polycarbonate Plexiglas milk carton is made up of 14,000 smaller cartons to represent each missing child.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Javier Rojas

The art piece titled “14,000 Missing Childhoods and Counting” is a project that took more than 2 months to build and was a collective work of eight different artists. Traecy Smith, 72U Residency Director, says immigration is one of the most contentious issues of our time and felt that art could be a way to shine a light on how drastic things really are. 72U has highlighted various social issues in the past and the agency felt this was appropriate considering the mass attention immigration received this year.

“Once I saw the number of separated children grew I knew we had to do something,” Smith said. “Society took their eyes off the issue but it was still happening and we knew if art could do anything is magnify the reality of the situation.”

The art piece was created from artists around the world including Mexico, Ecuador, and India.

2U residents Ginger Quintanilla, Taylor Alley, Tyler Hicks, Daniel Kim, Federico Zoppei, Jacqueline Miller, Raja Man, Wale Agboola, and Cristina Marquez came together to create the art piece. They hail from across the globe in places like Mexico, Ecuador, India, Africa, Italy, and Los Angeles. Many of the artists have seen similar social issues back home but were emboldened to create something after the Trump administration began separating families earlier this year. 

Smith says having a global collective of artists helped bring in various ideas and perspectives when creating the work. She says the issue of separated families isn’t just exclusive to America.

“By giving the art installation a global perspective, we acknowledge that the work and message isn’t just something that’s affecting people here in the U.S. but around the world,” Smith said.

Artists also consulted with many immigration organizations like the ACLU and Immigrant Defenders who gave input on the art piece. Smith says the art piece is part of a pending documentary on art and immigration as a whole.

Every milk cartoon inside the art structure has etchings on each box that represent aspects of children taken from detained immigrant youth.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Javier Rojas

Words like “Dad, “Freedom,” “Home” and “Future” are etched into the milk cartons to represent the wants of the children. Smith says she wants people to think of the reality for many of the children being detained and what they might be going through.

“We chose the milk carton for a specific reason,” Smith explained. “This is an item on every table and every family is aware of the milk carton and what it symbolizes, so that’s why we made this choice.”

The reaction to the art installation has been positive and has already gotten attention from the city of LA to possibly move the piece somewhere else in town for a longer stay. Smith says nothing is finalized but she sees the art piece finding a permanent home where more people can see the message.

The art installation has even gotten attention from people outside the U.S.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Javier Rojas

People from outside the U.S. have come to see the art piece because of its importance. It serves as a reminder of the lives for many in the immigrant community. Emilio Rosales came from Guatemala after he heard about the art piece on social media. He says the Trump administration’s policies are a humanitarian issue and feels that art like this highlights what’s really going on.

“What’s going on in America is sad and I see it all over the news and it makes you wanna do something about it,” Rosales said. “I look at this art and it makes me sad to know these children will never get to relive their childhood again. That’s the reality here.”

The art piece encourages people to engage via a QR code that links to a website created for the project. Visitors to 14000andcounting.org can sign an electronic petition and share campaign artwork on social media. The artwork is currently installed in Windward Plaza at the Venice Beach boardwalk.


READ: These Organizations Are Working For Our Community So Why Not Donate To Them This Holiday Season

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