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On the Frontlines of Change

MHR Student Raven Ziegler Reflects on Her Work in D.C. with Amnesty International
November 13, 2019

Raven protesting the US detention of immigrant minors at the Homestead Detention Facility.

Raven protesting the US detention of immigrant minors at the Homestead Detention Facility.
Raven protesting the US detention of immigrant minors at the Homestead Detention Facility.

Raven Ziegler is a second-year Masters of Human Rights Student. This summer she worked as a tactical intern at Amnesty International USA in Washington D.C., conducting legislative and policy research on immigration in the United States, and helping to develop and edit several of AI's campaigns, initiatives and reports. Raven shared some of her reflections on the experience in the write-up below. 

This summer, I worked with Amnesty International USA as a tactical intern on the Campaigns Team — working on the Rights of Refugees and Asylum Seekers campaign. The bulk of my work was structured around legislative and policy research on immigration in the United States, and co-developing/editing AIUSA’s Children's Freedom Campaign, Longer Table Initiative, and Homestead report, and the Refugee Protection Act of 2019. 

My internship was a mixture of technical and practical work. The technical work allowed me to exercise my research and analytical skills. For World Refugee Day, I wrote an article regarding the consequences of the Trump administration's immigration policy on a global scale. Furthermore, I was able to develop the preliminary research for a corporate accountability campaign related to the immigration detention industry. The practical work empowered me to utilize my organizing skills to engage the community in AIUSA advocacy. In conjunction with the launch of the Homestead report, I was the lead organizer for the Amnesty International protest at the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters, where AIUSA called for the complete shut down of the Homestead detention facility. 

My experience at Amnesty International gave me exceptional insight into the tactical research, planning, and strategy, used in the development of human rights campaigns. This has been avidly detailed in the response to the Trump administration’s engagement with immigration issues — with particular respect to detention and/or refoulement of those from Mexico and the Northern Triangle region. Furthermore, I observed the development of congressional testimony, creation and publishing of research reports, and learned the ways in which various rights organizations collaborate to create meaningful change.

My internship at AIUSA continues to inform my professional interests. The experience of developing human rights research allowed me to navigate how to utilize my academic skills in combination with my vested interest in human rights accountability. Furthermore, it created an exceptional foundation for my master’s thesis – which is set to focus on corporate accountability within the United States’ immigration detention industry.