I’m Being Profiled. (In the CMU-Pre Law Newsletter)

I was up tonight doing a conference call with the Student Advisory Council of my major (Ethics, History and Public Policy) and when we finished I started browsing through the Carnegie Mellon Pre-Law Society’s weekly newsletter. The profile I wrote was accepted! Here it is:

Last summer, Jessica Dickinson Goodman (H&SS ’11) used her Friedman Fellowship grant to work at the World Organization for Human Rights USA in Washington, D.C. Here is her account of the internship:

This past summer, I interned at the World Organization for Human Rights USA in DuPont Circle, Washington DC. Through a generous Friedman Fellowship (and 14 hour-a-weekend job working at a bike shop) I was able to work for Human Rights USA for free, redesigning their website and social media presence. By the end of the summer, I had quadrupled the number of client stories on the website, doubled traffic for the group blog, and crafted a Facebook page which would generate $1000 of donations in 3 days, 2 months after I left. I spent my days writing and editing, reading client affidavits and talking with attorneys and law students. Here are a few examples of the clients whose stories I worked on:

Imani’s story is told on her body: a scar on her ear, where her husband nearly tore it off with a slamming door; jagged gouge in her back where her husband pushed her onto a heap of broken glass; a deep, gnawing bite-mark on her wrist—her husband’s response when she told him she was too ill to have sex. Her story is written most clearly on her face: lines of grief for 23 years of torture and sexual abuse, fear for her two children left in the house of her abuser and their father in Cameroon, worry about starting a new life in the United States (http://bit.ly/dwjzYW).

On appeal, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a groundbreaking decision that the threat of FGM provided a basis for protection under the Convention Against Torture, even for mothers whose deportation threatens their daughters with this practice: “The [U.S.] government could never do to these girls in this country what the INS seems all too willing to allow to happen to them in Nigeria.” 314 F.3d 303, 310 (7th Cir. 2002). Since then, other courts have recognized FGM as torture (http://bit.ly/dC0UzU).

The work was not fun, but it was satisfying. The other interns (all law students) and I went on nearly daily cookie-runs (to Firehook–$1.55 for a massive ginger cookie) and kitten breaks (cuteoverload.com was a favorite). I also blogged every day for my family (http://bit.ly/c4yYYL). I lived at American University’s dorms at Tenleytown and would strongly recommend no one else do so—it wasn’t the cockroaches so much as the officious housing people who changed the locks to my room. This summer I plan to find a room to sublet for the summer through friends or Craigslist for my time in DC, since it will cost less and I will get more choice in roommates.

I love the pre-law community at CMU and, even though I’m in Qatar this semester, please email me ([comment if you want it]) or skype me
([comment if you want it]) if you have *any* questions at all. Human Rights USA is recruiting someone to fill my position for this summer, and I would be happy to help anyone in the Pre-Law Society find an internship in DC.

I’m still reeling from Amelia’s death last week, and so getting my media up from my trip to Dubai is slower than usual. Thanks for your patience!

Inspirational Quote:

“Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.”–Mark Twain

1 Comment

  1. As always when I read these accounts of the horrors women such as “Imani” and “Thelma” suffer in their homes in Cameroon, Nigeria and similar African countries I want to invite them all to come to our country and escape. I know their country authorities hold them captive with threats against their children and families, but I still hope that you and others in the legal pipeline can change these laws and conditions through work with the United Nations and such. Can you add to your reports any ways your readers can help to make these changes?

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