Since 2013, the CLLARO Fellowship program has created opportunities for students of color to hold leadership positions in public policy making. This is a paid internship for students aimed at diversifying the next generation of civic leaders.
“Even if you’re an intern or an aide, just having your cultural experience and your language be represented in the capitol is something that we need,” said Gerado Silva-Padron, a CLLARO fellowship alum from 2018.
The paid internship pairs students up with policy makers during the legislative session. Students work closely with them for up to 20 hours a week and could end up being hired on as legislative aides after their internship.
Silva-Padron hopes to become a state legislator one day to help address systemic disparities that affect communities of color. He said many of those disparities were present in his own household, like lack of access to healthcare resources, language barriers, and higher education opportunities.
“I think the best way to really weaken those barriers or even dismantle them are to be a part of policy making,” he said.