Lauren-Michelle Hardge was a former graduate intern for the Long Beach Branch NAACP who served as an administrative assistant. She is now a Founder and Senior Educational Consultant. She wrote:
“It was truly an honor and a dream realized being an intern for the NAACP Long Beach branch. I remember being a young child reading about the work the NAACP does in the community and saying “ that’s gonna be me one day”. In 2017 that dream became reality, I interned at the branch while I was attending graduate school in the Social and Cultural Analysis in Education program at CSU, Long Beach. I remember being so excited about the opportunity I took it on in addition to my full-time job working with foster & homeless youth in the Guardian Scholars program. Mrs. Rainey inspired me with her tenacious spirit and mentorship. She charged me with tasks that looked impossible at the time but had deep impacts in the community and myself. I was able to run the Voter’s Registration Drive at CSULB, where I was able to register the most young voters in the South Bay region. Helped plan a nuanced conversation between the black community and police department on solutions on how to improve relations. While I was also able to volunteer for the Annual gala & also received an award (to my surprise). My favorite memory was from the national conference that was held in Sacramento where I was able to meet other young Black activists and organizers. I have vivid memories of me sitting in an educational workshop of scientists discussing their research on the SAT/ACT test and how they were designed to have a 100% failure rate for Black students and were still implemented as normal college preparation tests despite its adverse effects on students of color. The knowledge I learned in that room forever informs the work I do for Black students, from the curriculum I design, research I do and the college access workshops I prepare. I am filled with gratitude for my experiences and encourage other youth to get involved in their communities and use their voices to seek change”.