The Agenda

Victory alums on working for the National Center for Transgender Equality

Former Victory Congressional Interns Romeo Jackson, a Fall 2014 intern for Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and Nowmee Shehab, a Summer 2014 intern for Congressman David Cicilline, have spent their summers as policy interns at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). We caught up with them to hear about their work this summer, what they’ve been up to since their time with Victory, and what’s on their plates as they enter their last year of college.
Romeo Jackson 
A senior at Northern Illinois University studying Intersectionality and Social Justice, Romeo Jackson has worked to incorporate their passion for intersectional justice, the empowerment of queer and trans people, and cross-movement coalition building into their professional work. 
At NCTE, Jackson was attracted to the opportunity to work on transgender justice through a racial justice framework. The highlights of Jackson’s summer have included working on a non-binary policy resource guide, and learning more about policy through Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, their mentor and NCTE’s Racial and Economic Justice Policy Advisor.  
Although Jackson has just wrapped up their internship at NCTE, they have a busy year ahead of them. “I’m doing an Arcus Fellowship in LGBTQ Leadership and Higher Education working to expand Northern Illinois University’s student healthcare to include transition-related medical care as well as starting a gender and name change service” says Jackson.  
This year, they were named to the 2014 Young People For (YP4) fellowship class, and developed a black and LGBTQ ally training as part of their fellowship. They also were a founding member of the Trans and Queer POC Committee at the Annual National Conference for Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), and are currently serving as the President of Campus Pride’s advisory board. 
“Interning at the National Center for Transgender Equality was a powerful, path affirming experience,” says Jackson, when reflecting on their summer. “Getting to see groundbreaking policy happen before my eyes was amazing.” 
Nowmee Shehab 
A senior at Emory University, Nowmee Shehab worked on a range of issues during her internship at NCTE. Following her time last summer as a Victory Congressional Intern, Shehab was drawn to a policy internship at NCTE. “After a summer of learning how our national legislature works, I wanted to learn about administrative law and advocacy and understand how federal agencies work,” says Shehab.  
For her, the National Center for Transgender Equality was the perfect fit. “I was particularly drawn to NCTE because they are invested in doing this administrative advocacy through a racial and economic justice lens,” says Shehab. “NCTE has a big policy portfolio ranging from immigration to healthcare policy to state level non-discrimination; the most challenging and the most rewarding part has been working my way through all of these issues and getting a depth of understanding for each of them.”  
This summer, Shehab has been involved in advocacy surrounding transgender immigrants in detention, and her piece on the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidelines for detaining transgender immigrants was published by the Center for American Progress this week.  
Shehab has made her mark this summer beyond her work at NCTE. She was recently featured as a #MakingHistory young LGBTQ activist by Generation Progress, completed a fellowship through The National LGBTQ Task Force’s Transgender Leadership Exchange, and had a conversation with a friend about their shared experiences as queer Muslim South-Asian immigrants to the United States featured by StoryCorps Atlanta. 
Reflecting on the coalition-building she has been involved with at NCTE, Shehab says, “it has been really exciting to see this collaboration happen on pressing LGBTQ issues.” In her last year of college, she plans to continue organizing with Freedom at Emory, a coalition that seeks to advance higher education access for undocumented students in Georgia, despite statewide laws that limit financial aid for these students. Shehab also is excited to develop her thesis, which will be “centered around the experiences of South Asian immigrant women,” and to continue to work on social justice policy after graduation.  
Click here for more information on the Victory Congressional Internship.