Are you looking for a summer with meaning? Are you a person of faith? Do you want to live out your faith working with and for others? If so, consider the Young Religious Leaders Fellowship. Nina Fernando, musician and scholar extraordinaire, was a Fellow, and maintains her commitment to this day, joining CLUE-LA as we organize with Pomona College workers for justice. Here is a look into the YRLF, in her words.
I’ve never been involved with anything that captured me as quickly as CLUE-LA’s Young Religious Leaders Program did. I make this dramatic claim not to convince you, but to articulate the many levels of engagement this internship exposes its interns to. I was intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually engaged and even at times, overwhelmed with the vast field of economic justice. My mind was racing with theories, methodologies, policies, etc. My heart was aching with the powerful personal stories low-wage workers shared with us. And though I wouldn’t consider myself a religious leader by any means, my spirit was activated by the ongoing discovery of what my role is and could be in our community justice movements.
I enjoyed the way CLUE-LA staff and interns worked collaboratively together. We weren’t afraid to ask for help, we were quick to be of service to one another, and of course in that, we became really close. Then there were the relationships we built through community organizing with incredible clergy and inspiring lay leaders who are dedicated to justice. We developed relationships with amazing fellow organizers in partner organizations, courageous workers and their families, familiar faces at protests and events, the list can go on. This was an experience that changed my whole world as I knew it. I’m still involved and committed now, years after my CLUE-LA YRLF internship. Currently, I’m in an Interdisciplinary M.A. program studying Religious and Cultural Studies: Ethics and Community Engagement at Claremont Lincoln University/Claremont School of Theology. I am so grateful for the practical and meaningful experience I had with CLUE-LA’s YRLP as I continue to march on with the movement.