Thursday, August 10, 2017

I started my Amicus London office internship with a lot of excitement, but also a lot of nerves. I had done a project on the death penalty when I was at school, other than that my knowledge on the topic was limited. If the death penalty was ever brought up in a conversation, I was passionately against the idea. However, I was also ignorant of the realities since I thought the US was far enough away from me to distance myself from the issue.

When I came into the office, the first thing Florence gave to me was artwork and letters written and by inmates. This enabled me to put faces, characters and names to what had always been mere statistics to me before. I was put at ease immediately, and knew I wanted to know more about these people. It was a crucial starting point and added to my motivation to get more involved. It also reminded me what Amicus stood for: enabling everyone, regardless of who they are, to have access to justice on a more equal footing. 

During my time at Amicus, one of my highlights was working on The Exonerated. My work ranged from handing out flyers to the public, to dealing with senior members of the bar, celebrity actors, and death row exonerees. In addition to great conversations, I was able to study the play itself and further my understanding of the death penalty. 

I would encourage anyone who has an interest in human rights to apply for an internship at Amicus. It doesn't really matter whether you are for or against the death penalty. But if you believe that everyone has the right to have access to the law in a fair and just manner, then I would urge you to get involved. All the work that you will be doing is extremely important. 

On a final note, I am grateful for the fact that Florence and Maroshini always tried to shape my internship around me and what I wanted out of it. It was very encouraging to talk about what skills I wanted to utilise and develop in accordance with my ambitions. I was part of an environment where I was cared for and everything that I could do was appreciated. It was an experience that has shown me that human rights is never black and white, and no fundamental issue is ever too far away to make a difference.