Summer at NYLAG has been brimming with activities and opportunities for staff members to connect across units and projects, meet new people, and learn new skills through a variety of social and educational events.
On May 31, a record-breaking 80 summer interns arrived, representing 23 law schools and eight colleges. These law students and undergraduates are assigned to a variety of practice areas including public benefits, consumer protection, matrimonial and family law, tenants’ rights, and immigrant protection. They attend CLE training programs, to which all staff are invited, across a range of topics including divorce law, bankruptcy, elder law and mediation. To keep things lively the Pro Bono Unit has coordinated a number of gatherings, including happy hours, a scavenger hunt and a trivia night.
The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force hosted a screening of Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13TH, which takes an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality, and Selma, a chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
LegalHealth, collaborating with the American Constitution Society, hosted a panel discussion on the changes underway to our nation’s health care system that featured a number of NYLAG legal experts discussing how they may impact the agency’s clients.
The Post-Election Working Group was formed in January as a rapid-response team to address policies from the new Administration that affect NYLAG’s clients. In addition to analyzing the impact of proposed legislation and drafting statements, they are working to build a sense of community for staff and volunteers during these turbulent times. They are active participants in a monthly staff book club dedicated to reading about the immigrant experience (the June title was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), coordinate staff photo ops in support of social justice causes, and host weekly meditation sessions. Other summer activities have included karaoke night at a local bar and, in partnership with the Diversity Task Force, a Diversity Potluck meal to celebrate the amazing variety of cultures represented within the NYLAG community.
A highlight of the summer was NYLAG’s participation in NYC Pride, the annual civil rights march celebrating the LGBTQ community, spearheaded by the LGBTQ Affinity Group. Thanks to a seriously cool tee shirt designed gratis by graphic artist Alosha Shkolnik (brother of Maria Hunter, Director of the Public Benefits Unit) the staff members who marched really stood out from the crowd.