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social change

social change

The Princess Effect

This piece in Politico by Sarah Kendzior is spot on, decrying the state of media representation of powerful women in politics: Read these women’s magazines today—particularly those articles focusing on the “power women” of the Obama era, and there is a full shelf of them by now, from Mastromonaco to Michelle Obama, Samantha Power to Susan Rice—and you will find a familiar pattern. There are still only two main tracks for the female politico: intimidating and powerful or submissive and charming. When combined, these qualities translate into “having it all,” although “all” must be tempered with notes of humility, lest…

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social change, women's rights, writing experiments

Breaking down walls: a story from Salone

Sometimes, an image sears itself into your brain — it becomes a snippet of a memory that comes back, flashes back, and horrifies you when you least expect it.  These images come back to haunt you when you are lying down after a long day, about to sleep.  When you take a brief respite from work and take a quick walk outside.  When you are eating dinner.  At the most mundane times, sometimes these images strike — and you feel like you’re back there again.  Sometimes, there are moments you cannot forget, even if you wish you could. For me,…

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social change

Incredible reminder on the violence of success & prestige

Please watch the above TEDx Talk by Alok Vaid-Menon. Then digest. And share. He provides some much needed reminders to reconsider how we view success in this world, and what it truly will take to contribute to social justice and social change. Some of my favorite quotes: Should you desire to be successful you will not actually bring human rights for all, eliminate poverty, end nuclear war, or fix Congress. If you go in with this mindset chances are you will be defeated like all the generations before us. The key to changing the world is to fail to live up…

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personal, social change, travel

Salone Stories: Life in the village

Village life is slow, languid, and yet can involve backbreaking labor. Most villagers work in farming, selling/trading goods, or mining – Sierra Leone is known for producing gold and diamonds. As I pass by the river, I see families washing clothes, bathing – and sifting sand for gold. I ask a woman if she’s found anything; she shows me her mug and I manage to spot several bright specks of gold. I wonder how long she spent in the river, risking getting parasites and diseases, to find those specks, and how much they are worth. With much of the country…

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life, personal, social change

A mindset of service

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” –       Rabindranath Tagore “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” –       Mother Teresa This was a year spent with nose buried in the books,…

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innovation, international development, social change

Lessons from Jacqueline Novogratz

Using my newly-founded freedom upon completing 1L, I picked up “The Blue Sweater,” a thought-provoking and insightful book by Jacqueline Novogratz (I know, this is years too late!). Novogratz presents a number of key arguments for better philanthropy, and the need to build companies that serve the poor, rather than just provide charity. While my work largely focuses on the non-profit side of things, and I still sustain a belief that strengthening civil society, local leadership and the non-profit sector (along with the government) can make an impact, I do think that investing in social enterprises and businesses that make…

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issues, social change

To Boston, With Love

I could’ve been there — I could’ve been at the marathon, cheering on friends and strangers as they crossed the finish line. I could’ve been there, marveling at the resilience of the human spirit, celebrating the strength and determination and passion that the sport of running demands. Marathons represent some of the most incredible things about humans — hard work, dedication, the ability to go on when things get really hard. The bombing destroyed a day of celebration and excitement, of positivity and patriotism as well. I could’ve been there, and the victims could’ve been people I knew. Perhaps that’s…

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human rights, international development, public interest law, social change, women's rights

A weekend of rebellious lawyering

“You don’t judge a society by how they treat the powerful, but by how they treat the poor and incarcerated.”  “What matters is not just what’s in your head, but what’s in your heart.” — Bryan Stevenson I recently had the chance to attend a wonderful conference on “rebellious lawyering.” It offered the opportunity to step out of the law school campus, reflect on my passion for public interest and social just lawyering, and come back with a renewed perspective. Before law school, I never would’ve dreamed I’d utter the words, I love civil procedure and property, nor would I have realized…

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human rights, social change, women's rights

The voices of Indian feminists and women activists

I recently attended a wonderful event at Harvard in conjunction with the Harvard College Women’s Center and on campus students and student groups. It was a discussion of the faces of rape and gender violence in South Asia – Bangladesh, Pakistan, India – and it featured the voices of young Harvard students, Ph.D.’s and graduate students from the subcontinent. They discussed many intelligent things — the issue of masculinity & its problematic link with domination in society — the issue of child protection services and lack thereof in India — the history of partition and war, and rape as a…

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public interest law, social change

“Serving Two Masters” by Derrick Bell

Some excellent thoughts on what it means to be a community lawyer, by Derrick Bell: “..[S]ome civil rights lawyers, like their more candid poverty law colleagues, are making decisions, setting priorities, and undertaking responsibilities that should be determined by their clients and shaped by the community. It is essential that lawyers ‘lawyer’ and not attempt to lead clients and class…” “..[C]ommitment to an integrated society should not be allowed to interfere with the ability to represent effectively parents who favor education-oriented remedies…. “ “..many idealist lawyers.. seek, through the class action device, to bring about judicial intervention affecting large segments…

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