My name is Emily D’Angelica (‘20) and I am a rising senior majoring in Spanish. This summer, I have had the pleasure to work at an organization called Her Justice as the Language Access Intern. Her Justice, located in downtown New York City, is an organization that provides legal assistance and representation to those who identify as women who are living in situations of poverty in New York City. Her Justice also specializes in working with clients who have experienced domestic violence, which increases the urgency and vulnerability of their unique situations. With two dedicated legal teams and a network of volunteer lawyers from very reputable firms in the five boroughs, Her Justice primarily practices in the fields of family/matrimonial and immigration law.
My responsibilities at Her Justice as the Language Access intern revolve around their language access project, which seeks to increase the amount of accessible resources that the organization has for clients. I am currently working on a booklet that gives quick, accessible, and accurate information on the eligibility requirements and processes that Her Justice typically litigates in the field of immigration. Writing accessible documents is not an easy process, nor are the processes to obtain legal status in the United States. I have also aided in doing some translation work in Spanish. Additionally, every Thursday, the volunteer interns and many of the staff members in the office participate in client Intake. From 10am-1pm, Her Justice’s hotline is open for calls from people seeking legal help. The majority of the staff that work at Her Justice are bilingual in a range of different languages, so during helpline we take calls primarily in English and Spanish, but also have the ability to help callers that may speak French, Portuguese, and Hindi, among others. It is truly an inexplicable feeling to be able to help people get a step closer to the legal aid and representation that they deserve.
To be working with an organization like Her Justice in today’s political climate has been both extremely difficult but also rewarding. It is difficult to know what the current presidential administration is doing in regards to immigration into the United States. This internship has given me a great amount of perspective on working within the legal system. It has showed how limiting and frustrating litigation can be, while at the same time has made me recognize its utility in easing daily traumas for many people. Furthermore, my experiences at Her Justice have helped reinforce to me the awe-inspiring resilience, resistance, and perseverance of the immigrant community.
My internship at Her Justice would not have been possible without my award through the CDC and SGA. Her Justice and nonprofits similar to them are doing extremely important work, especially in the harsh political atmosphere given this presidential administrations autocratic policies. Nonprofits like Her Justice often need many hands on deck to be able to do the work that they do, including interns, who they do not have the means to compensate. Through this summer experience grant, I have been able to get first-hand experience in language access, have been able to apply my studies to the real world while also being able to contribute, albeit through a short experience, to a greater movement of institutional change through Her Justice’s work.