Friday, October 23

Bringing Pride to Politics

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by Megan Hageman

OSU student, Oseremhen (Ose) Arheghan, named one of twelve summer Victory Congressional Interns nationwide.

Wondering where the next generation of out public leaders are to be found? Look no further than the Victory Congressional Internship, a program of the Victory Institute, the only national organization dedicated to elevating openly LGBTQ+ leaders. Equipped with an impressive resume of LGBTQ+ advocacy, Ohio State’s own Ose Arheghan stands among the twelve students across the country selected for this prestigious summer’s program.

Arheghan’s first taste of political activism came in high school, as they lobbied in D.C. for inclusive sexual education as a member of Advocates for Youth. Arheghan has represented the LGBTQ+ community for two years within Ohio State’s Student Government, co-founded the University’s first Undergraduate Black Caucus, and also gives queer people a voice as a Campus Ambassador for GLAAD. Through the Victory Congressional Internship, they hope to give context to their classroom education and receive both experience and guidance for a future career in international relations.

The Buckeye Flame connected with Arheghan to discuss this summer work, previous efforts within the LGBTQ+ community, and their goals for more inclusivity at OSU. 

What can be done at OSU, or on a larger scale, to help support both LGBTQ+ and black students?
Specifically speaking, we’re one of the largest schools in the U.S. that doesn’t have an LGBTQ center, and we’re the only school in the Big Ten that doesn’t have an LGBTQ center, like a physical space specifically for queer youth. I think that’s one really big thing the university can do to not only reaffirm its commitment to LGBTQ youth, but also to provide that space for students to learn and grow so allies can physically see the university cares about us too.

In terms of racial justice, I think especially right now the university has the opportunity to be really outspoken and be a leader in regards to racial justice and advocacy for black lives. A lot of students, myself included, are advocating for the university to sever ties and cut its contract with the Columbus police department to publicly acknowledge the harm that was done at the hands of the Columbus police to students. I think if the university were to take those steps it would go a really long way in regards to re-affirming their commitment to black lives.

What does your work with GLAAD mean to you?
My advocacy started in journalism, so I’ve always been really cognizant of the fact that media is important and plays an important role in advocacy. I really appreciate GLAAD as an organization because they make sure the media we’re engaging with from a really young age is inclusive of LGBTQ people. And when it’s not, they’re an organization that is really outspoken about making sure queer people have a voice in media and are portrayed accurately.

What opportunities will you have as a Victory Congressional Intern?
They’re doing it different this summer because obviously we can’t all be in D.C. doing an in-person congressional internship. So, over the summer we’re doing a lot of professional development work and individual trainings. We’re talking a lot about being queer on the hill and what it’s like being a member of the LGBTQ community engaging in political work. I have three community mentors I’ve been paired with this summer, one who works in the political realm, one who works in the advocacy realm, and one who works in the media realm. I’ve been able to learn a lot about the different ways I can get involved with policy and politics.

How will the internship help you reach your future career goals?
I’m interested in foreign affairs, so I want to work for the State Department or something that has to do with international relations. Being able to learn so much about the way federal policy is crafted and the way people go about advocating for things on the federal level has been really beneficial to me, because as a person who’s interested in doing foreign policy, not only do I have to be knowledgeable about foreign policy, I also have to be really knowledgeable about domestic policy. This has been a way to supplement the education I get in the classroom as a political science major with real world information.

Ignite Action:

  • Learn more all about the amazing things Ose Arheghan is doing and follow them on Twitter.

Megan Hageman is a Columbus, Ohio-based freelance writer working within the field of social media and content marketing. Her writing ranges from articles on non-profits to advice for working women and California weddings. Learn more at https://www.meganhageman.com/.

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