We recently appointed two members to be Co-chairs of the Communications Committee for the Women’s Caucus. We chatted with one of the new Communications Co-Chairs, Emily, about environmental issues, how she became politically active at a young age, and why she always brings back bagels from the US. Here’s what she had to say.
What is your full name? Emily Eileen Kulesa
Where in the UK do you currently live? London
Where did you grow up? Long Island, New York
In which state do you vote? New York
How long have you lived in the UK? Almost 6 years!
When did you join the DAUK Women’s Caucus? September of 2018 after the Blue Wave Bootcamp
What is your occupation? I am a Projects Intern at the London Sustainability Exchange, working on their Sustainable City Awards as well as their biodiversity projects. I recently graduated with my masters in Environmental Politics from King’s College London.
What do you bring back to the UK from the US?
Bagels. I always get early morning flights back so I will go to the local deli with my Mom before my flight and pick up a dozen of egg everything and pumpernickel bagels. I keep them in my freezer and have them whenever I’m feeling homesick.
What are your hidden superpowers?
Being able to spot and sense whenever a corgi is nearby. I have two corgis back on Long Island who I miss dearly so I take any chance I get to play with corgis in London.
What is your proudest achievement?
As corny as it sounds, it was my graduation from my undergraduate degree from the University of St Andrews. When I was 11, my family went on vacation to Scotland and I fell in love with the country. I knew from that trip that I had to go to St Andrews and move to the UK. Everyone thought I was crazy and that there was no way I would move half-way around the world from my family and dogs. So my graduation day was the culmination of one long childhood dream! I was so proud of myself for accomplishing a goal that was 10 years in the making. I left a legacy there too, as I was a founding member of the Democrats Overseas Society at St Andrews!
“To me, the environment is not a Democratic or Republican issue, it is a human one. The clock is ticking and we need to act now if we want to ensure a safe and sustainable future for generations to come.”
When did you become politically active, and what prompted you to do so?
It would have to be my school’s Role Model Wax Museum in 2005. I chose then Senator Hillary Clinton and wrote an essay on how her perseverance as a woman in politics inspired me to get involved in bettering my own community. I think I was the only student who also had a section in their report on Universal Healthcare Reform! I remember getting dressed up in the best kid’s pantsuit Kohl’s had to offer (with my American Girl doll in matching clothes) and setting up in the politics section of the “museum.” When one of the boys told me that girls didn’t belong in the politics section, I told him that girls can also be great politicians, if not better! From then on, I followed any political news and the rest is history!
Why did you join the Women’s Caucus?
At the Blue Wave Bootcamp in September, I stumbled across the Women’s Caucus table. I chatted with a few members who convinced me to come along to their next meeting. I am so glad I listened to them! Women need to play an active role in resolving America’s issues and it is important to keep ourselves educated and involved in solving these issues. Women’s Caucus is the perfect place to meet up with other American women and discuss these issues.
What issue or cause is most important to you and why?
This is not a surprise to anyone, but I am incredibly passionate about environmental issues. Ever since I saw Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2005, I have been focused on keeping our planet clean and healthy. To me, the environment is not a Democratic or Republican issue, it is a human one. The clock is ticking and we need to act now if we want to ensure a safe and sustainable future for generations to come. I have done a lot of research on environmental communication in political dialogues so I make an effort to try to successfully communicate environmental issues with people from both sides of the aisle.
How does being a part of this organization enhance your activism?
Since joining Women’s Caucus, I have been able to learn more about the issues we need to solve and how to most effectively take action to find those solutions! I recently gave a talk at our April environment meeting about how to talk to conservatives about climate change and I was so excited to share my knowledge with the other members of the caucus. Now as a Co-chair of the Communications Committee, I am able to work with members and help them write up articles on the issues they are passionate about.
How does being apart of this organization improve your life as American woman in London?
While I love living in the UK, I always get homesick for Long Island and America. Being a part of the Women’s Caucus allows me to connect back to my roots and work on making my country a better place even though I live so far away. I have found the Women’s Caucus to be one of my favourite parts about living in London. Not only do I have a fabulous group of ladies to discuss American issues with, but I have found a community where I feel so welcome! The Women’s Caucus allows me to get involved with the political issues I care about while socializing with other Americans!