Every week we interview an inspiring politician or someone working to help politicians do their job. Luxembourger local representative and social entrepreneur Jana Degrott is an Obama Foundation Fellow, a OneYoungWorld Ambassador and sits on our New Voices Council. She co-founded We Belong in 2020.
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How would you describe your political path?
I first ran for public office at the age of 21. The decision to run at such a young age was a personal one. I have always been a strong believer in the importance of incorporating youth perspectives in the country's development—not just because we are the “future” leaders and decision-makers, but because we should be leading today. I also ran because I did not feel represented in the halls of power and needed to change that. I feel enriched, fulfilled and amazed when I see the impact I now have in office. I am able to make my voice heard and count. Leading by example, I can show mini Janas what's possible and that they too should consider running for public office one day.
“I feel enriched, fulfilled and amazed when I see the impact I now have in office. I am able to make my voice heard and count.”
What are the most useful lessons you've learnt on the way?
You don’t have to compromise on your values in order to try to understand where people who disagree with you are coming from. Becoming someone I didn’t see in politics was hard. My belonging in the political space has been questioned time and time again. I also questioned it. Today, I know that I belong in politics and my presence is important. I see it as my duty to open doors for other underrepresented groups now that I have entered a political space. These values influenced me to start We Belong, an initiative aimed at inspiring and equipping young European women of color for next generation leadership, and creating a future pool of role models as a result.
What are the top three things that could be done to get trusted, ethical and courageous politicians in your area?
We need to identify emerging political leaders who do incredible and impactful work within their communities and beyond every day.
Find them and then give them a support structure that helps remove the barriers making political life difficult
Equip them with resources
Create a community, to which they can return when facing adversity and challenges.
What story do you want communities to tell about politicians?
I want good politicians that serve their communities and communities that are grateful for the work of good politicians.
Do you know of an inspiring person we should interview in the future? Send us your suggestions via email or on by following us on social media.