Join us in celebrating the graduation of our Youth Outreach Coordinator, Ambureen Rana, from yet another impressive class of Emerge Maine. We are so proud of her accomplishments and can't wait to see her in office. Check out Ambureen's own words about her experience in the program in her graduation speech below.
"First of all, it is an honor to be standing here and to have this opportunity.
-I want to start by thanking my mother. I am blessed to have you as a role model. Watching you give to others has always inspired me.
-My father, for teaching me what a democrat was. Teaching me when I was young to always be skeptical, always question. Which is especially relevant today in a world full of alternative facts.
-I’d like to thank my partner Russell for constantly asking me: “So, when are you running for office?” Making it feel so real, and reminding me that I can make change.
-I’d like to thank my colleagues and friends Maggie and Quinn, who are always reminding me that I am valid and worthy of the work I do.
-And a huge thank you to Jill and the entire Emerge board for doing everything to make this experience possible for the 23 of us.
After this election, I was bitter. It felt like everyone around me was either surprised by the results, or unable to recognize how problematic it was. My classmates helped me lessen the bitterness by reminding me that there is good in the world. You all have the biggest hearts, and so much compassion.
At the age of 22, I am the second Muslim and the third Asian-American to be graduating from this program in our State.
It is clear that women of color face multiple barriers in their pursuits of leadership, from getting hired or getting elected.
White men make up about 30% of the population; yet hold more than 65% of elected office. Women of color are severely underrepresented. The people making the decisions right now do not know how to serve us, if they did, their policies would not be hurting us. We don’t need you to make policies about us, we can write them ourselves. Those affected by marginalization should be the ones making the decisions to eliminate it.
Inclusion isn’t about considering us, it is about having us right there at the table.
Because whether it is conscious, subconscious, or systematic, we are being excluded.
Hire trans women, hire women of color, hire immigrants and indigenous folks. They don’t need people to speak for them; they need people to pass the microphone.
We don’t want anything about us without us. So hire us. And most relevant to why I am standing here today, elect us."
[Photo Credit: Jeff Kirlin, https://www.facebook.com/TheThingOfTheMoment/