Category Archives: Summer 2017

Feminist Camp: Seattle

Meet Katy Wong! She majors in chemical engineering and gender and sexuality studies at Tulane, and got the opportunity to go to Feminist Camp in Seattle this summer.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

I have always considered myself a feminist from a young age, but struggled with how I personally find myself interacting in the ecosystem of activism. As someone who interacts with both STEM and liberal arts, I wanted to find some way to bridge the two together in a way that could positively impact others and be readily accessible for everyone. In the field of gender and sexuality studies, feminism is often second nature if not already incorporated in the studies. In STEM, I find difficulty in finding a clear path to bring feminism in a field that does not readily have a category for it. However, I knew what I was most passionate about which was ultimately becoming a better advocate for those whom are most vulnerable in our society — those who have the least access to resources: queer trans women of color. I wanted to be able to better incorporate feminism into all aspects of my life rather than solely academia through theory. The emphasis of Feminist Camp’s incorporation of feminism in the workplace was most appealing to me as I could see how women interact in a delicate power dynamic and with each other as a support system.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite part is the tight-knit community I found in the feminist cohort and the unexpected surprises along the way. The cohort was incredibly supportive and non-judgmental. Even if we were on different pages for certain issues, we came from the universal perspective of love and a desire to truly listen to each other. Something I totally did not anticipate was meeting Ijeoma Oluo and Lindy West! Carly bought us tickets to see Ijeoma Oluo and her brother Ahamefulo Oluo at Seattle’s Town Hall Thursday night. Carly had connections to get us backstage where I could speak with Ijeoma. I was a big fan of her writing prior to this camp so meeting her in person and witnessing her brilliance, wit, and humility unfold before me was an ethereal experience.

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Katy with writer Ijeoma Oluo

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

The Feminist Camp in Seattle did not talk directly about reproductive health and justice. Rather, it was an interdisciplinary discussion. I learned about the role of a doula in reproductive health as an individual who ensures women are fully represented in the ways they desire. For example, we had an abortion doula talk to us. She is an advocate for the pregnant mother and will help mothers in ways from holding their hands to ensuring physicians are accountable for the birth plan they create for the mother. In addition, I have also learned how lobbying and grass root movements, such as NARAL Pro-Choice, have significant impact for women’s health. Victories are small milestones to get us closer to equity and improving life chances for everyone. Although administrative violence may occur, there are means to ensure women who are +100 miles away from a
pharmacy may receive affordable and convenient birth control three months at a time.

Tell us something you learned that you hope to never forget:

Feminist Camp taught me to not undervalue myself as an individual and while cruising through life, having supportive friends along the way eases hardship. It is often very difficult to become the best advocate you can be for yourself, and having a strong support group with other individuals with similar experiences along the way can help you heal mentally and emotionally.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

Feminist Camp is transformative. I am humbled and inspired everyday by the dedication of both the campers and speakers.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

Feminist Camp taught me how it is perfectly okay to be uncertain. Often, we are pressured to know our career path every step of the way but being uncertain is okay. Nonlinear paths are perfectly acceptable if there is a timeline to achieve your dream because a dream without a timeline is just thoughts.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp: Seattle

Meet Cecily Montgomery! She majors in political science and international development, and just came back from Feminist Camp in Seattle.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend Feminist Camp:

I have considered myself a feminist for as long as I can remember but as I’ve moved through different spaces in my life, and have had opportunities to hear new perspectives my understanding of what makes a feminist has deepened. I recently returned from my semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a city with a robust feminist movement. During my time there I attended two different women’s marches, both of which were massive and allowed me to see how feminist movements can be different around the world, depending on the needs of women in that place. I was eager to continue this learning and feminist camp was the perfect opportunity to do so.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

The speaker that was most interesting to me was a lobbyist who advocated for union rights at Washington State’s capitol building in Olympia. As someone who is very interested in the political world it was both sad to hear about the challenges specific to women in that field but also inspiring to learn how she navigates them with such poise and expertise.

The friendships that I made on this program were another aspect of it that made this program amazing. Although we were only together for one week, by the end of it I felt extremely comfortable with each and every one of them. Campers of all ages and diverse backgrounds attended, and each one of them brought important perspectives and experiences. The program coordinators were truly amazing and very knowledgeable. It was clear that a lot of time and effort had gone into planning this week.

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:   

During Feminist Camp we met two different women from different pro-choice organizations. The first one was NARAL pro-choice Washington that works to both get pro-choice candidates elected as well as pass pro-choice legislation. Speaking to her was very interesting to me as a political science major because it showed me major challenges associated with passing legislation geared towards reproductive health. It also allowed me to ask questions about the best way to pursue a career in policy advocacy.

The other session we had geared towards reproductive justice was with a member of the board of directors of the CAIR project. This organization is a fund that helps women get abortions who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it or have a way to access it. Seeing how one non-profit that is geared towards affecting policy works with another one that works directly with women showed me all the different effort needed to help women get the care they need.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

Having the opportunity to speak with successful women from array of different fields showed me how to make myself stand out in professional settings. One thing that I frequently struggle with is standing up for myself or making sure that I am listened to. Having conversations about things such as salary negation or making your voice heard in male dominated spaces showed how I can be a better self advocate.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp: 

There are so many important things to learn from Feminist Camp, it’s hard to think of a reason not to attend! One of the best things I gained from it was an incredible new community. Some of the people I attended camp with also live in New Orleans, giving me a new community of like-minded individuals to have here now that I have returned. In a world dominated by the patriarchy, women are often not taught or encouraged to speak up or display too much confidence. Even in the course of just one week, I watched both myself and the other campers grow in our self confidence and willingness to have a voice.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

As I said above, one of the most important parts of the conference was learning how to be a good self advocate which can apply to many areas of life but definitely applies to career goals. With just one year left of college I now know how to better make myself stand out to potential employers and speak up when I need something. It also showed my how it is possible to include feminism in my career be in my advocating for policy that helps women or just being supportive towards the women that I work with and making sure their voices are heard.


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Just Keep Writing!

I am a bit past the half-way point in my internship at this point and have moved from the research stage to writing. It’s exciting to see all my work come together into a cohesive, readable paper. I met with Judge Doherty a couple weeks ago to discuss my twenty-five page outline. At that point I thought I’d be able to start writing, but the judge sent me some notes which required a little more than a week of additional research. Although I was disappointed to delay my writing time, I think ultimately I found some information that will be really useful in my paper.

I’m learning a lot about being an independent worker at my job. I set my own deadlines, so it’s really important that I give myself enough time to complete everything. I am my own proof-reader and the sole researcher on this topic. This has given me a lot of room to us my own judgment when deciding the direction to take my research. I’ve decided to given myself a week’s buffer, which think may be the smartest thing I’ve done so far. Although I’m doing my best to set strict goals and a timeline, I can’t plan for all the little things I may encounter– such as particularly tricky citations. All in all, I think this internship at the juvenile court has taught me a lot about what it means to do legal research, but has also taught me how to motivate myself to do the best work I can in a timely manner.

Trust the Process: An Update on My Time at the National Trust for Historic Preservation

On an administrative level, I am pleased to say I have made significant progress on my learning goals for this internship. The national preservation organization directory is complete with the contact information of more than 1,000 organizations and interested stakeholders, with occasional updates of preferred method of contact. The directory is already being used in our office to expand the Government Relations team’s reach.

I have briefed two reports on state historic tax credit policy, one on the state historic tax credit in Louisiana, and the other on a proposed program in Tennessee. I may write more in the future, but for now they are undergoing revision by my supervisor so they can be posted to the Trust’s website.

In my work on the new advocacy toolkit, so far I made one-pagers on the basics of state historic tax credit programs, caps to HTC programs, the return on investment (ROI), and the transferability of state tax credits. These are undergoing various stages of revision, and should be ready for public use within the next few weeks. My regional charts of state historic tax credit programs are nearly complete, and undergoing the final stage of revision. An advocate from Mississippi set to testify on the importance of state historic tax credit programs to the Southern Legislative Conference approached my boss for any advocacy information she had on hand, and I developed custom materials for her use based on my other work—that is also undergoing final stages of revision. I am especially proud of this project because it shows how versatile and useful the material I have developed is, and is, once again, genuinely being used. I am excited that on July 20, I will preview the new advocacy toolkit I designed in the webinar Effective State Historic Tax Credits and Advocacy Campaigns, where I will speak along with my supervisor and several other advocates from across the country.

Pictures from my tour of the newly restored Brumidi corridor in the Capitol, organized by one of my coworkers.

In terms of networking, I have been able to meet people from all over the Trust through brown bag lunches, intern activities, department bonding, and even just in the elevators. I have also been lucky enough to meet people from outside of the Trust, from individuals working in Senate offices during a tour of the recently restored Brumidi corridor in the Capitol, to individuals working at our for-profit subsidiary, the NTCIC. At the latter, their team invests in historic tax credit projects and operates as a specialized firm, and our Government Relations team works closely with them to ensure we can keep the pulse on how to best advocate for a credit by the people who use it. Outside of the Trust—and I may consider this a step above networking—I have been able to spend time with one of the friends I made at the PLEN Women in Public Policy conference, as she lives and works in the city.

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Becca and I with Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial by the National Mall.

By virtue of my working at the Trust, I gain experience working in a non-profit. It is especially interesting working in a rather large one—with two floors of staff in the Watergate building. While I am the only intern in my department, I am one of around thirty at the Trust, who are scattered around the Trust working in specific fields. Rather than being an intern picking up various tasks specific staff do not have the time to handle, I have been able to be focused in my position, working on historic tax credit policy and advocacy for my whole experience.

To monitor my growth, I have regular check-ins with my supervisor, depending on our workloads, from about twice a week to daily. In these calls (as she works mostly off-site) we figure out if there are any new tasks I should take on (i.e. developing the custom materials) and make sure I am on track to complete my main project of the advocacy materials by the end of July.

My time spent speaking with my supervisor is also  on another level—through it I gain the ear and mentorship of a woman in the preservation field, and one who works with tax policy where you would not expect to find very many women. It is also promising to see that women operate at the Trust at the highest levels, like Stephanie Meeks, our CEO, and Merrill Hoopengardner, the president of NTCIC. Going to meetings on the Hill it strikes me how few women are the faces of our government and how most work behind the scenes, whispering in Congressmen’s ears during committee meetings or working the phones in their offices. The experience of working at the Trust is even more valuable because I get to see women working and leading at all levels.

At the Trust I’ve discovered how much I love working at a non-profit in general. Speaking with people across the Trust, it is clear they genuinely love their jobs and the work they do more than the average person in the workforce. I am lucky to be surrounded by individuals from all different career backgrounds, whether working in Congress offices or local historic organizations, who found a home they love here. It is also clear I am enamored with the preservation field, and viewing it from a policy standpoint connects preservation concretely with my degree, reminding me I do not need to be an architect to work in preservation. While tax policy sounds dry on its face, the tangible human impact of the historic tax credit combined with my interest in state and local policy has made me more interested in tax policy at large. I’ve also fallen a bit in love with Washington DC as a place to live and work—not just as a place to visit with family as a tourist. The past few years I have been lucky enough to live and spend time both in my Maryland hometown and New Orleans, and am doubly lucky to have my connection to New Orleans fund my ability to experience a new city. Knowing that I am comfortable living and working in several cities across the country puts me more at ease for graduation, knowing that if for some reason I cannot find a job or gain acceptance to graduate school in one metro area, I have two more that I love just as much.

Progress and orders of protections: my second week as an Intern at The Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau

Today marks my second week as an Intern at the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau at the New York District Attorney’s Office in Suffolk County, NY!    Ever since the founding of The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in January of 1964, The District Attorney’s Office has worked fervently to create a safe and just community.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office is located in the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip, New York. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office consists of twenty-four judges, three hundred and thirty Assistant District Attorneys plus support staff, and fifteen bureaus to prosecute crime within Suffolk County–mine including The Domestic Violence Bureau.

The mission of The Domestic Violence Bureau is to bring perpetrators of crime to justice and to fight on the behalf of victims of domestic violence crimes who suffer from atrocities such as sexual abuse syndrome, battered women’s syndrome and rape trauma syndrome. Through advocacy and litigation, The Domestic Violence Bureau works to accomplish their goal to afford justice to those affected by domestic violence and helps victims create the life they have envisioned for themselves. According to Assistant District Attorney Josh, “the most rewarding part of the job is being able to help domestic violence victims; knowing that I am going to help victims who were harmed by others”(Josh Interview, 6/29/2017).

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Domestic violence encapsulates a far-stretching social and political issue that affects thousands of individuals across the United States. According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence, or “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another” affects approximately ten  million adults and fifteen million children individuals annually and contributes to fifteen percent of violent crime (The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). In addition to contributing to many negative psychological problems such as high rates of depression and suicide, domestic violence has many negative economic effects as well: the cost of domestic violence exceeds $8.3 billion dollars annually and accounts for eight million days of lost work per year. By working to fight on behalf of those affected by Domestic Violence, the Domestic Violence Bureau works to build a future which both improves the economy and encompasses a more kind and respecting society.

As an intern, my responsibilities include writing orders of protection for Domestic Violence victims looking to protect themselves and their family. In addition, I examine court cases and compile specific evidence to assist the Assistant District Attorneys which they use to build their argument to prosecute criminals. For the remainder of my day, I observe jury and bench trials and direct victims to available resources who provide emotional and legal assistance, such as the advocacy group Long Island against Domestic Violence. I found and secured my internship by visiting Tulane’s Success Center and meeting with my academic advisor. My advisor then connected me to different resources and taught me how to research different internship opportunities online. That is how I found out the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office was offering internships and applied.

During the beginning of my experience at the District Attorney’s Office, I have gained experience speaking to different attorneys and observing trials which has taught me much about Domestic Violence and the judicial process as a whole. For instance, I was given the opportunity to sit in cases being held in the Integrated Domestic Violence Court, which handles domestic cases that are linked to other categories of crimes. Within these courts, I saw how domestic violence charges are linked with charges which would normally be handled in other courts such as Family Court, Narcotics, “DUI” Court, and the Vehicular Crime Bureau. By speaking to Attorneys from both the District Attorney’s Office and Child Protective Services, I have come to understand how truly multifaceted and powerful Domestic Violence is. Although it has only been two weeks, I am truly ecstatic to learn of what will be coming in the next few months of the District Attorney;’s Office. I expect to learn not only why Assistant District Attorneys pursue their work, but why Domestic Violence is such a widespread issue in our community. I am so excited to keep you updated on all the things I am doing this summer!

Two weeks filled with learning and adventure

It has now been two weeks since I started my internship in Shanghai, and every day is an adventure filled with wonder and growth. From the moment I wake up at five in the morning to right before I go to bed around nine thirty at night, I encounter new things, new challenges, and new ideas, and moment by moment I feel my world expanding, no matter where I am.

Though it was a very unexpected match, I am enjoying every day and every lesson at Laticci, a company that sells punk-inspired clothing online. My style is very far from punk, so every day I step out of my comfort zone to meet the expectations of my supervisor (and founder of the company), Evelina, who I admire very much. Because my role centers around marketing, I have to leave my style and preferences aside and work to understand people with different style and preferences from mine. I have failed sometimes (some clothing combinations I have created were deemed “too vanilla”), but I have also succeeded (my product descriptions have fared very well), and every day I strive to improve. I am very grateful that throughout this entire process, my supervisor has provided me ample feedback for me to grow and deliver her better work.

From the day I arrived, Evelina has given me multiple projects that have allowed me to contribute to her company’s success while learning about online marketing and taking on the challenge of how to grow her brand.  Aside from the projects I mentioned already, I have researched potential wholesale partners for Laticci to expand, and I have worked on improving Laticci’s Pinterest account (given that most of Laticci’s sales come from online searches, having a strong social media presence is crucial for the success of the company).

I am glad to have found an intern abroad program that found a place for me to live, a company for me to intern in, and a place for me to continue learning Chinese. Given that I had never been to China, I was very nervous to come, but this program gave me the certainty that the places where I would live and work were safe and legitimate and ensured me that everything would be safe.

In the coming weeks, I hope to continue learning about online marketing and to gain valuable skills from Evelina, who started the company on her own only a year ago and has made a very impressive project out of it. She does everything from the designs to the data monitoring to quality assurance, and she has gather much insight throughout her journey. I am lucky to have such an amazing person to learn from on a day to day basis, and I hope to learn as much as possible from her experiences.

Additionally, I want to continue exploring the vibrant city in which I am. Being in China is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I intend to make the most out of. Every weekend and free moment that I have, I embark on an adventure. It always begins in the metro and ends in the most interesting of places – whether it be the Shanghai Museum, an old street with hundreds of local shops, the first skyscraper in Shanghai with a 360-degree view of the city, or an area of town with foods you would never see in the US (fried scorpion included). On the way, I learn much about the culture, about how people relate to one another (at least in public places), about how they speak, and much more. With a map and a transportation card (and good enough vocabulary to ask where the closest metro stop is), I have gotten just about everywhere I have wanted to go, and every place surprises me. And with the Chinese classes I am taking four times a week, I have stepped out of my shell and grown more confident to speak with others on the metro, so hopefully I will be able to understand enough to have interesting stories to tell.

Halfway There

I am just a little over the halfway point of my internship, but it feels like I just flew in from LaGuardia yesterday. Time has gone by so quickly this summer, but my time at DREAM has been nothing short of rewarding and full of learning opportunities. The DREAM Talent staff is directly responsible for the onboarding of summer interns, as well providing us with additional support along the way. Amanda and Yerlyn, our two Talent coordinators, have made a huge effort to provide us with professional development opportunities such as a staff speaker series and speed networking.

I also have weekly check-ins with my supervisor, Courtney, who takes my goals very seriously. At the beginning of my internship, we had scheduled a meeting to sit down and discuss what exactly I wanted out of this internship. After that meeting, Courtney assigned me tasks and projects that directly correlated with my goals. For example, one of my goals was to further develop my resource development skills. My previous experience in non-profit development was a much smaller organization and my experience this summer has required me to adapt to the scale and pace of a non-profit in a city such as NYC. I have done extensive donor research, as well prospective donor research, as we embark on the beginning of the fiscal year. The one major lesson I have learned from development is that it is all about relationships. The research that I obtain on our donors and prospective donors allow our seasoned Development officers to maintain and strengthen donor relationships. At DREAM, we have a large agenda and that agenda requires a reliable revenue stream. This summer, we have expanded to a new site in Newark, NJ and we are also planning on establishing a charter high school this upcoming September.

As the summer progresses, my decision to intern with DREAM this summer is reaffirmed every day by the work I do in the Development office as well as my on-site visits with the children. Through my work and experiences at DREAM, I have recently decided to change my major to Linguistic Anthropology. I remember one of my coffee check-ins with Yerlyn where we discussed our struggles as women of color in college and in the job industry. Coming from such diverse backgrounds, we agreed that there is an increase of stress and pressure from our families to succeed. Our families view success in terms of money, social capital, and power and these things can be achieved through medical or business professions. My time at DREAM has taught me not to be afraid of failure. I am redefining success as a Vietnamese-American woman. Success is such a broad term. Success comes in many forms. Success can be becoming the first woman of color CEO at a corporate company. Or success can be a student reading below their grade level being able to correctly identify their sight words. For me, I am choosing the latter.

I am a firm believer that education is the key to success. But I am also a firsthand witness of the educational inequities in this country, as well as around the world. I have seen school systems horribly fail in educating their students and some school systems providing their students with the necessary tools and foundation for a successful future. I have seen schools that are the breeding grounds of exclusion and bigotry. But DREAM is not one of those schools. During DREAM’s classroom instructional time of their summer program, students are taught by the Clubhouse curriculum. Monday through Thursday, students and their teammates participate in social-emotional learning programming. This curriculum helps students effectively manage their emotions as well promote healthy decision making. Each week, the curriculum is centered around a DREAM value and the past week’s value was respect. Once a week during the Clubhouse hour, teams meet with on-site social workers and these social workers facilitate “Real Talk” discussions. This week’s discussion was on gender and gender stereotypes and how they can affect how students respect one another’s identities. It was incredibly rewarding and moving to be able to sit in on one of these discussions. Social workers are facilitating imperative discussions with third and fourth graders and these students are able to digest and understand the lessons.

DREAM has set the standard of education for me and as a future teacher, I will always remember my time and the lessons I have learned at DREAM. Education may be a privilege, but quality education is a right.

We’re Halfway There

Halfway through already? It seems like yesterday that I was in the Newcomb office at Tulane preparing for the internship with other Tulane students. At Transition Projects, I have moved on to many different projects. From creating a volunteer and donor database to help planning the logistics of their main homeless veterans event (Stand Down PDX), I have had an amazing time working for an organization that helps the community in so many ways. As my time here has gone by, I think my learning goals have shifted slightly. Before, my goals were broad, such as “learn about how nonprofits function” or “research the homelessness demographic” in Portland. As I have worked on different projects, my goals have narrowed. I want to know about how specific programs function and the demographics of specific populations, such as domestic abuse survivors and teen runaways. The internship has narrowed my interests from the broad non-profit realm to specific social justice issues.

In terms of monitoring this growth, I think I see my growth every time I come to work. The projects that I have done are an easy way to monitor the amount of work I am doing. Seeing the databases grow with donations and volunteers is especially rewarding. I think there is more to it than that though. My supervisors trust me to tackle larger projects and  work independently. Moreover, as I mentioned before, I think tailoring my interests is extremely beneficial and a big step for me. I am the type of person who can find anything and everything interesting, so to find issues that I am truly passionate about is very special to me.

This internship is also the first internship that I have worked on that is actually female dominated. Working at the Department of Energy Bonneville Power Administration, I was constantly in male-dominated meetings and boards. This internship made me realize that there are female-dominated opportunities that are doing great work for the community. It reminded me that you can be a female leader in any area of work.

From this internship, I have gained a plethora of skills. I know how to use a number of applications for non-profits (Volgistics, Donor Perfect, etc.), as well as having a better handle of scheduling on Outlook. I have attended meeting, organized volunteers, and worked with a variety of professionals, giving me the opportunity to see how each position works. I am very grateful for this opportunity and especially for the beautiful view of Portland from the office!

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First Week Update!

My quick one-month internship at the Network for Victim Recovery started last week, and I’ve already learned so much! Here’s my first briefing (some tips and moments):

  1. First things first, don’t choose to break in a new pair of leather shoes on your first day at an internship. I learned this the hard way.
  2. On a lighter note, I’m finishing my project quicker than anyone anticipated. This gives me time to present the virtual privacy guide in multiple formats: presentation, packet, visual handout. Additionally, I’m taking my extra time to do more shadowing.
  3. On my first day, I got to go the the courthouse and watch a sexual assault trial. I’m so grateful this organization is giving me the opportunity to shadow lawyers even though I’m not technically a legal intern.
  4. Today I sat in as one of the staff attorneys prepped a witness with practice questions, granting me insight not only into the formal legal procedures, but the informal ones as well.
  5. While I’m becoming increasingly interested in this area of law and advocacy, I’m also recognizing the emotional impact this kind of job can have on staff. I think if I ever want to follow a career in victim advocacy I would have to stick to a pretty strict self-care regimen. So, naturally, I’ve taken up yoga!
  6. This morning I went to a presentation on an overview of what the Network for Victim Recovery does and learned more about the history of victims’ rights. With a broader understanding of the network my project is contributing to, I’m extremely motivated to create a guide with lasting impact while I’m here. My next challenge: presenting my work and convincing my coworkers of its alleged “lasting impact” at next Friday’s staff meeting. Wish me luck!

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Working at Operation Restoration

I have been working with Operation Restoration, a nonprofit based in New Orleans that is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated women and girls access higher education and tools to help them with reentry. Because there is no office space I have been working over the city and from home, meeting with Syrita Steib-Martin, the executive director, in her office at Touro medical center, and in Baton Rouge when we are working on legislation.

I first met Syrita at an event on Tulane’s campus about women in the prison system when we hosted Piper Kerman, writer of Orange is the New Black, and then followed up with Syrita at a Newcomb Prison Project meeting. From here she and I talked about my goals and interest in this kind of work, and she invited me to work with her. From the internships I have had I have found that it is very important to follow up with people and to show up to events that interest you. Meeting people and organically talking about your interests helps them remember you when you say that you are looking for an internship later on.

I had initially been working on background information and data collection for our bill HB688 that has since passed and become law in Louisiana! This bill makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals with a criminal history when applying to public institutions of higher education in Louisiana and makes Louisiana the first state in the nation to do this. I was able to be in the room when this bill was discussed in senate and house committee meetings, and watch as it was signed into law.

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signing HB688 into law

I have worked with a number of other community organizations and have made connections with V.O,T.E. , LAPEC, The National Council for Formerly Incarcerated Women, and have worked with a number of state representatives and their offices. This internship has provided me with freedom to take my interests to the next level as well as learn about the working of a nonprofit.

http://www.fox8live.com/story/35689108/la-becomes-first-state-to-ban-the-box-on-college-admissions-applications

http://www.brproud.com/news/local-news/louisiana-becomes-the-first-state-to-ban-the-box-on-public-college-applications/735672067