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Meet Amara Banks, an OFA Fellow

Whether on the ground or online, OFA fellows are are always pushing for progress, making an impact across the country. One of those is OFA Summer Fellow Amara Banks, a teenager from the West Coast, who's making her mark organizing in California, taking action on the variety of issues that matter to her.

"I wanted to do something different and more hands-on," she said. "I was not down for another summer program at a university. I was talking with my mom and my aunt recommended the OFA Fellows program to me. I did it and I’m so glad I did, because it was one of the best experiences I’ve had."

From phone banking to grassroots events, Amara rallied with fellow Californians to call on lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Her favorite moments were "meeting people who have personal connections to comprehensive immigration reform," adding, "just seeing people really happy and that it was promising for them—it was one of the greatest feelings."

Amara explained her own connection with immigration, sharing her family’s story. "My ancestors are from Cuba. They immigrated to America just like everyone else. This is a country built by immigrants, and I’m definitely a part of that."

Back in school for the fall, she could not shake the organizing bug, so she began an OFA club at her school. The club made its debut at a fair in mid-September, but Amara was not without doubts. "The fair made me nervous—I was worried, because what if nobody signs up and the club was a bad idea, and nobody likes it?'" she said.

Reality exceeded expectations, and 74 students signed up for the club. With large student interest in OFA, Amara views it as "a cool way for students to learn about American politics rather than a history class."

Moving forward, Amara wants the club to grow into an OFA chapter in the San Bernardino area and host its own events. "I would also like to do volunteer work and phone bank," she said.

The fellows program gave Amara the opportunity to make a real impact in her community—something she's always wanted to do, but was waiting for the right opportunity for. "I think it's important for people my age to understand what’s going on and be involved, because it shows that you care for your country, and you appreciate the life that you have," she said.

"We are fortunate to live in a democracy, and it’s important to take advantage of that," Amara emphasized.

Join Amara and the millions of Americans making a difference in their communities. Find an event near you.

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