There are many things in the world that inspire me, but perhaps nothing does so more than writing. There’s something about sitting down and allowing your thoughts to come to life, about having the ability to create something beautiful, something permanent, out of your own experiences. Throughout my life, however, I’ve strived to reconcile writing with action. I almost became a journalist, but after writing extensively for my university’s newspaper, I felt that there had to be something more. I felt as if the impact I could make through writing would be up to chance; perhaps one or two people reading my articles would feel impacted enough to get out there and do something. But leaving my entire life’s impact and legacy up to chance was a huge risk I was unwilling to take.
So then, I turned to law as an option, and I saw in law a way for me to use the power of my words to concretely impact people’s lives and result in measurable goals – thus combining my passion with action. I have become fascinated with international human rights law, international justice, and criminal justice reform. This summer I’ve come to Geneva, Switzerland to intern with International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), an innovative NGO working to reform criminal justice systems in developing legal systems. I am incredibly excited to learn more about justice sector reform and it’s role in the broader human rights movement, as well as about the opportunity to help make IBJ’s JusticeMakers community more well known.
As a rising senior at Northwestern University and an economics and political science double major, I’ve had many opportunities to get involved on campus, especially in public service student groups. Throughout my college career, I’ve also worked extensively on the executive boards of community service organizations like Campus Kitchens and OASIS, and also helped start a student group aimed at improving the capacities of microfinance institutions. Last year, I studied abroad for my entire junior year at the London School of Economics and enjoyed the experience of gaining a truly global perspective. Last summer, I interned with the Global Youth Action Network (GYAN), and currently I am currently the Co-President of Amnesty International at Northwestern University. Needless to say, this is a diverse range of experiences – but I believe that each one has helped form me into someone committed to acting to help better the world.
But I’m here to tell you that writing coupled with action does and can make a difference. I’ve been writing this year at my personal blog, Justice for all, where I blog about political and human rights issues, hoping to better articulate the vital role that young people can play in the movement. As a 20 year old, I clearly don’t know as much about human rights as seasoned experts, but what I have realized is that I can contribute something through my writing: a youthful perspective. Through my blog, I have reached out to so many members of “Gen Y,” and have been able to discuss with them the importance of human rights, and the importance of caring. My words cannot do everything, but through contributing my voice – at least I am joining the movement for change and helping it grow.
And now, I’ll be writing every so often for Jolkona with the same mission of encouraging young people to get involved in making a difference. What I’m most excited about is that with Jolkona, my words can have a real impact. By weaving the narratives of people’s lives, I can bring to light the challenges people face in communities around the world. And through this, I can highlight certain projects that demonstrate great potential in alleviating these problems – thus encouraging you to donate or volunteer your time and effort to a cause. My words can have an impact in raising awareness of a particular cause, and this excites me beyond words. I will write mostly about Jolkona’s human rights and women’s empowerment projects, and I am incredibly excited to start this journey with you all.