reflections of a current jv.

31 05 2011

Maria Fitzsimmons, a current JV in Seattle, recently reflected on her experience at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project at our Annual Dinner in Seattle, an excerpt from which we’ve shared below:

“Asylum is a form of immigration relief for people who have experienced persecution in their home countries.  In my JV placement as the asylum intake coordinator for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, I am the first point of contact for potential clients who are interested in applying for asylum or who must do so, to try to stop imminent deportation to their country of persecution.

As  I work in legal services, I cannot legally tell you my clients’ stories, but I can tell you my story.  Like what it means to interview a military deserter from Eritrea, a county in east Africa, who was tied up and left in the desert sun for a week because his supervisors believe he is anti-government, a common experience.  Or the devastation I feel as I fumble through an intake in Spanish with a domestic violence survivor from Honduras who has so internalized the anti-woman messages in her society that she will not call what her ex-spouse did to her rape.  Or, I can tell you what it means to be a United States citizen, college educated, woman of color, assessing an asylum claim of a Gambian woman who was subjected to female genital mutilation when she was young because her state thinks that her body is dangerous and must be blotted out…”

Please CLICK HERE to read Maria’s reflection in its entirety on our website.  (Trust us, it’s beautiful.)  You can also learn more about the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project by visiting http://www.nwirp.org.

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