CCIL Fall Fellowship

Written by Reeves Oyster on August 15, 2017


Sears Twoer

My name is Reeves Oyster, and this summer I participated in the Common Cause Illinois summer fellow program. Originally from Missouri, I’m a student at Washington University in my hometown of St. Louis. Last year, I took a class called Power, Justice and the City. The class explored issues relating to urban spaces, including voting rights, racial hierarchies, and the relationships among contemporary cities and their suburbs.

 

Prior to taking this class, Missouri voters passed Constitutional Amendment 6, which limits the accepted documents to vote in Missouri to approved government-issued photo IDs. In a state that already does not have same day or online registration, Amendment 6 is nothing but Missouri’s new push for voter suppression.

 

Politicians whose seats are threatened will do anything to make sure black and brown people don’t show up to vote. These laws are nothing but political cowardice, and they’re passing in more states than mine.

 

I believe voting should be accessible to everyone. As a society, we should be encouraging as many people as possible to participate in our democracy. The right to vote is not reserved for the elite; it is, and should be, inalienable.

 

I found Common Cause through a summer program. After spending a few minutes on their website, I knew it was somewhere I wanted to work. I knew that it would allow me to follow up on the things I had learned in my class and protect the right to vote.

 

Common Cause is taking steps and launching initiatives to hold power accountable. They believe in democracy, just like me.

 

I was thrilled when I received my fellowship offer, but my time and work at Common Cause has surpassed everything I thought the experience would be.

 

In an office with only four full-time staff members, the fellows team has a great deal of responsibility. This is not the classic internship where the day consists of finding unimportant tasks to pass the time. Each fellow takes charge in the projects they find most interesting, and fellows often collaborate with each other to improve the final product.

 

Working with Common Cause has been an invaluable experience that provided a firsthand look at democracy work and the nonprofit sector. I’ve learned a lot here. I’ve networked, met deadlines, attended events, and made friends. Most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to fight for the things I’m passionate about. I’ll never forget my summer at Common Cause, and I look forward to taking these new experiences back home with me. 


Interested applicants should submit a current resume via email to illinois@commoncause.org

Office: Common Cause Illinois

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