france/2014 (page updated: 2018)
Breaking down stories so that the basic truths and implications are seen and explored has driven me since my days as editor of my high school newspaper, Spirit. Today, as a law student with a concentration in international human rights law at CUNY School of Law, not much has changed.
For the last year, I have been able to work as a legal intern in the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic at CUNY. My project focuses on Afro-Colombian women and their lack of access to stipulations agreed to in Colombia’s peace agreement between the government and the FARC. Recently, we helped write a UPR report on the topic, which was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council ahead of Colombia’s review by the HRC.
In the spring of 2018, I was awarded a fellowship from the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice and spent the summer at Women’s Link Worldwide. Based in their office in Bogotá, Colombia, I conducted research on gender-based crimes of violence against women through the lens of torture. I also did work around the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court’s decision to acquit Jean-Pierre Bemba, focusing on how the acquittal sends a disturbing message that victims of rape and sexual violence during conflict will not receive the meaningful, formal justice deserved.
Other issues I have recently worked on include the criminalization of financially insecure pregnant women in the United States and an independent study on the human rights of mothers in U.S. prisons.
Prior to law school, I attended Hamilton College and worked at news organizations CBS and BusinessWeek. While working toward my master’s degree at night from Columbia Journalism School, I worked at Fox Business (during its beginnings, when the purported objective was to be a neutral business news source that worked in collaboration with News Corp’s other business news holding, the Wall Street Journal).
It was during my time as a business reporter, which began in the wake of the 2008 recession, that I got the opportunity to report on human interest issues including student debt; ageism in the workplace; and an in-depth series on long-term unemployment. Other stories included how housing people without homes can save the government money; why female entrepreneurship is growing at a faster rate than ever; and a startup series on up-and-coming young entrepreneurs from around the U.S., which I created when I first started as a small business reporter. (A compilation of past video clips can be found here.)
Whether it was a person full of will fighting to get back into the workforce after losing employment or an unyielding entrepreneur who believed in the power of the collective, to say that I was inspired by those behind the stories I have been able to tell is an understatement. Seeing and speaking up close to so many different individuals who shared common threads only affirmed my belief in the power of humanity; in our ability to create things together; to change things together; and more than anything, the unbreakable power of basic human connection and compassion.
(In addition to my commitment to human rights and public interest law, I also have an uncontainable love for music, salt water, and animals… especially my extraterrestrial pug girl pup with velvet ears.)
I note the obvious differences, between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. Maya Angelou