This is so necessary!
A former Obama alumna just announced a scholarship to benefit unpaid Black women interns in politics.
Deesha Dyer is a former White House intern, event strategist, community organizer, and the Black Girl 44 scholarship creator. This independent initiative offers scholarship funding to unpaid interns in politics and public service.
— deesha (@DeeshaDyer) January 20, 2017
The Philadelphia native said she was inspired by her own experience as a White House intern, noticing during her time that there weren’t a lot of Black men or women interns, something she was set on changing. Dyer believes a lot of the reasoning behind Black people’s absence in the internship space is due to finances. While many internships provide a stipend, most fail to cover the cost needed to live and work in D.C.
“Last year showed us clearly that Black women bear the brunt of the pandemic, yet remain at the forefront of movement and change. More than ever, we need more Black women to run for office, start social justice movements, join campaigns, and with this scholarship, we can help alleviate any financial hurdles they experience along the way,” Dyer said in a statement.
In 2019, she started the initiative with help from other Black women who worked in the Obama White House. Since then, the scholarship has expanded from 55 donors to more than 100 with the support of Impact of a Vote, an organization exposing “African-American college students to non-traditional careers and pathways in politics.”
I HAVE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR BLACK WOMEN IN COLLEGE – 10 for Politics & Public Service and 3 for Study Abroad!advertisement
Please spread the word! A THREAD! 1/3
— deesha (@DeeshaDyer) March 29, 2021
Through the Black Girl 44 scholarship, Dyer hopes to create an equal playing field for all students to receive the experience they need to thrive in this arena.
“Change in politics and public service shouldn’t be reserved for those who can afford to gain access through unpaid or low-paid internships. There shouldn’t be unpaid internships to begin with, but I wanted this scholarship to help provide funds for someone who may need financial assistance to complete their internship. This seeds the pipeline of Black women in politics that are needed in order for us to continue dismantling and rebuilding oppressive systems,” Dyer told Because Of Them We Can.
The scholarship is open to Black women of all ages who have a Washington, D.C. internship related to policy, community engagement, community service, advocacy, global relations, or politics. Ten recipients will be chosen for the 2021 season on June 5, 2021, and awarded with $1,000 scholarships.
Dyer credits the scholarship’s success to the 105 Black women who formerly worked across the Obama administration that have come together to give back to the next generation. “I’d really like to just acknowledge them, thank them and let people know that although many of us don’t work in government anymore, we are still doing the work,” Dyer said.
Through this initiative, Dyer hopes to give confidence and access to Black women pursuing careers in politics.
“I hope this scholarship gives someone the confidence to believe in what they can do and what they are capable of even if they come from limited means. I want them to know there is an army of 105 women behind them to back them up, support them and uplift them when they need it… I’m hoping that this scholarship puts more Black women in rooms where decisions are made. These decisions should not be happening without us and our community,” said Dyer.
Former White House Social Secretary @DeeshaDyer joins The @CrossConnection on a new scholarship fund that fights economic barriers to equal access to internships. #CrossConnection pic.twitter.com/idtdRjr9Jdadvertisement
— The Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross (@CrossConnection) April 3, 2021
I’m proud to support the 2021 Black Girl 44, a scholarship that seeks to create pathways for Black women on the road to political power. @DeeshaDyer #ImpactOfAVote Apply at https://t.co/fhzPgpNQM7 pic.twitter.com/YbeShWGd3jadvertisement
— Khalilah M. Harris (@Ed2BeFree) March 25, 2021
As an Obama alum continuing to support women & girls, I’m very proud to support the 2021 Black Girl 44, a scholarship that seeks to create pathways for Black women on the road to political power. Thank you @DeeshaDyer for your leadership! Apply here https://t.co/TtOl07RFldadvertisement
— Dr. Joiselle Cunningham Smith (@JoiselleSmith) March 26, 2021
Applications for the Black Girl 44 scholarship are currently open. The deadline to submit is May 1.
Thank you for the work you’re doing, Deesha! Because of you, they can.
Photo Courtesy of DeeshaDyer.com