Meet the Interns: Abigail Melton
(Public Policy Intern - Based in Pensacola)
1. Tell us a little about yourself...
My name is Abigail Melton, and I am a Public History graduate student at the University of West Florida. I have a Bachelor’s degree in history, and specialise in 20th century history—in particular, the socio-political landscapes of the United States and Germany, culture, and civil rights movements. As a public historian, I enjoy creating diverse ways to educate the public on important issues within both historical and contemporary frameworks. I’ve been interested in history, politics, and social justice ever since I was young enough to learn about it, and as an adult I hope to work toward a future where equality is paramount.
2. Why are you involved with LGBT activism?
Growing up, describing someone as gay—or any other homophobic slur—was an insult meant to deny someone their humanity and denote them as something lesser. Even as a child, I recognized that there was something inherently wrong with it, and have wanted to combat it. Discrimination is something that we have to address as a society, because it is not an isolated issue. I’ve known people who were denied attendance to prom because of their sexual orientation and who they were dating, and people who have lost their jobs because it. This is unacceptable in the 21st century, particularly in a country that prides itself in its democratic freedoms. Personally, I feel that if I am not doing something to try to ensure that everyone has the same rights and protections, I am part of the problem.
3. Why did you want to intern at Equality Florida?
In order to get my master’s degree, I have to complete a 300-hour practicum with an organization of my choosing which would allow me to gain experience in the specialization I want, as well as demonstrate the skills I’ve learned throughout the course of my program. While there were several options available to me, I wanted to do something in which I could be passionate and help the community where I grew up.
4. What are your plans after you graduate?
Ideally, I would like to continue working in public policy, advocating for the rights of marginalized groups across the country. I want to dispel ignorance and promote understanding in effort to prevent the spread of hatred based on fears and lies.