Former Obama White House Intern Announces Scholarship For Black Women With Financial Need Pursing Political Internships
Deesha Dyer, former White House intern is encouraging Black women to secure paid internships through her scholarship program.
April 13, 2021 at 3:20 pm
Deesha Dyer, a former White House intern during the Obama administration created a scholarship opportunity for Black women in politics. The BlackGirl44 scholarship offers compensation for students pursuing internships that relate to policy, community engagement, community service, advocacy, global relations or politics, according to Impact of a Vote.
On Twitter, Dyer announced that she has scholarships for Black women in college, along with three scholarships for study abroad.
I HAVE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR BLACK WOMEN IN COLLEGE – 10 for Politics & Public Service and 3 for Study Abroad!
Please spread the word! A THREAD! 1/3
— deesha (@DeeshaDyer) March 29, 2021
Dyer said her inspiration for creating the scholarship came after she noticed the lack of Black men and women during her White House internship and those who cited finances as a potential deterrent. Determined to incite change, Dyer embarked on a journey in 2019 to turn a passion into payment for Black interns while collaborating with her coworkers.
"Last year showed us clearly that Black women bear the brunt of the pandemic, yet remain at the forefront of movement and change,” the Philadelphia native said in a statement, according to Because of Them We Can. “More than ever, we need more Black women to run for office, start social justice movements, join campaigns, and with this scholarship, we can help alleviate any financial hurdles they experience along the way.”
Through the contributions of the Obama administration, the private and independent initiative awarded nearly $8,000 to Black students pursuing their undergraduate studies in 2019. This year, the program will award 10 $1,000 scholarships to Black women in college who have received a Washington, D.C.-based internship in politics or public service for summer 2021.
Dyer mentioned that she wants this scholarship to provide hope to those who are in need of financial assistance and wishes to pursue their dreams.
"I hope this scholarship gives someone the confidence to believe in what they can do and what they are capable of even if they come from limited means,” she said.
“I want them to know there is an army of 105 women behind them to back them up, support them and uplift them when they need it,” she added, referring to the 105 Black women who served under former President Barack Obama and aided in the scholarship’s endorsement efforts. “I'm hoping that this scholarship puts more Black women in rooms where decisions are made. These decisions should not be happening without us and our community.”
According to a 2020 report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Black students are more likely to participate in unpaid internships than white and Hispanic students.
"Change in politics and public service shouldn't be reserved for those who can afford to gain access through unpaid or low-paid internships. There shouldn't be unpaid internships to begin with, but I wanted this scholarship to help provide funds for someone who may need financial assistance to complete their internship. This seeds the pipeline of Black women in politics that are needed in order for us to continue dismantling and rebuilding oppressive systems," Dyer expressed.
The deadline to apply for the scholarship is May 1, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The initiative emphasized they will not accept incomplete and/or late applications. Recipients will be announced on Jun 5.