INTERN CORNER: Lexington and my Democratic Identity
One of my most vivid memories was the 2008 presidential election. I was about 12 at the time and my family and I had been watching the results roll in on the television. I had fallen asleep on the couch, but I remember being awakened by the joyous yells of my family in the living room. That was the year America elected its first black president, Barack Obama. I remember smiling and feeling especially happy for my grandmother, who lived through the 50’s and 60’s in Kentucky. At that time, the thought of ever having a black president was nothing but a dream. I remember the tears in her eyes as she watched the television.
A large part of my identity revolves around my sociopolitical values. I have identified myself as a Democrat for as long as I have been cognizant of the political structures in the U.S. I grew up in Kentucky, where much of my time was spent doing community service with my family in urban Lexington. Early on, I began to realize how much federal and local policies impacted the lives of vulnerable Americans.
I watched as the inner city community centers and non-profits lost funding. I watched as single mothers began removing their children from grant funded summer camps because they were no longer free or low cost. I watched as the beloved community center that my grandfather, mother, and uncle had developed slowly cut budgets, hired less workers, and canceled more free lunch and summer camp programs. I watched the west end of Lexington crumble, only to go back to my side of town which was quieter, prettier, and less forgotten.
I realized much of the wealth disparity and rampant inequality in many parts of Kentucky was due to policy making that disproportionately benefited wealthier and privileged citizens. I learned that I favored community building policies that cushioned the violence of poverty. Giving impoverished neighborhoods access to education, healthcare, and quality childcare make economic and social mobility easier to achieve.
I believe the Democratic Party will be the party to create a more inclusive, forgiving, and tolerable society. I believe the Democratic Party has the highest potential to make positive and impactful changes in both the lives of socioeconomically privileged citizens, and citizens who are part of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in the nation. Lastly, I believe the Democratic Party will be the most trustworthy party, in terms of executing effective, peaceful, and efficient foreign policy that will bring us closer to global prosperity. For these reasons, I am invested in helping to create a more equitable society that will provide every American citizen with resources, opportunities, and the chance to have high aspirations. I am certain my passions and convictions are what brought me to the Kentucky Democratic Party as an intern. In the future, I hope to continue making a positive impact in Kentucky by serving our most vulnerable communities.
Amari Cowan is a rising senior at Centre College, and a current Summer Intern at the Kentucky Democratic Party. As a former collegiate track athlete, health and wellness issues in Kentucky, especially in her hometown of Lexington, are particularly important to her. She devotes her free time to exercise, community service, and healthy cooking (with an exception to accommodate her love of breakfast cereal). She hopes to return to Lexington after completing her studies in Danville. Opinions expressed in this piece are hers alone, and not necessarily the official positions of the Kentucky Democratic Party