Position: Senior Staff Attorney, Youth Law Center
1999-2001 NAPIL / Westrec Marinas Fellow
What drew you to DRA? Before law school, I was an AIDS hotline volunteer. It was a time when we knew how HIV was spread and how to stop it, and treatments were available, but rates of HIV were nonetheless taking off in communities of color. With health being so central to life, the inequality of access to information and critical resources deeply frustrated me. As similar issues of unequal access were playing out in the disability community, I was interested in being part of DRA’s efforts to improve access to healthcare.
What were the highlights of your fellowship? I was involved in every stage of the case against Kaiser, and it was an amazing experience. We argued that the lack of accessible exam tables, medical equipment, and health information harmed the quality of care provided to people with disabilities. Kaiser was incredibly responsive, and the settlement process was unusually collaborative and constructive as a result. Work together toward the common goal of improving care – and seeing the broad impact we were having – was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had as a lawyer.
How did your fellowship affect what you went on to do? 9/11 happened shortly before my fellowship ended, and I was very troubled by the government practices that followed – particularly the targeting of individuals from predominantly Muslim countries. I began working at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, which led to where I am today. The immigrants’ rights field resonates with me because of my family history, the need for the work we do, and the ways in which the country’s treatment of immigrants reflects our values as a society. The legal experience that I gained at DRA, especially with federal court litigation, was critical to preparing me to do this work.« Back to All Staff