Washington DC: where change is possible

Washington DC, it has been an adventure: shadowing the advisor to the US Secretary of Education; meeting White House staffers who worked with Obama to get LeBron James involved in a national health campaign; learning from programmes that are helping the homeless, the parentless, and young offenders; chilling with Young Democrats in a bar on Capitol Hill; performing spoken word in Busboys and Poets, and; standing at the Lincoln Memorial where MLK delivered his “I have a dream” speech.

Thank you to everyone who made it a special chapter of my Fellowship.

One major lesson: politics can and does make a massive difference to people’s lives. For those sceptical about the impact of politics, look at the Civil Rights Movement and Lincoln’s legacy. One of the challenges for political leaders in both our countries today is to remain committed to helping the most marginalised and most excluded people in society. It is the powerless who most need help from the powerful, and it is the powerful who are most able to help the powerless. Citizens must keep powerholders accountable, diverse people must put themselves forward and get involved in politics, leaders must see it as their civic duty to help the powerless, and if they don’t, voters must elect the people who will.