By: Lensa Abdukadir ’24
I would like to convey my deepest gratitude for the opportunity to receive the UB Law Alumni Association Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fellowship through the University at Buffalo School of Law Summer Public Interest Funding and Fellowship Program. As anyone who has pursued higher education knows, the financial constraints that come with obtaining an education can be crippling, stressful, and truly a burden. I hope you understand the little bit of relief you have provided in my pursuit of a law degree.
My summer at Disability Rights New York has been an incredible learning experience. The work done at Disability Rights entails advocacy for those who are often forgotten. The consciousness and discussions around ableism in the modern world sheds light on the fact that individuals who are differently abled are culturally and systematically overlooked, inconvenienced, and disregarded. The work done at Disability Rights is to ensure that these issues are corrected, in individual instances as well as at a systemic level. It was an eye-opening experience to witness first-hand all the work that goes into this advocacy. All the tedious paper work, the important research, the back and forth over procedural matters all while the clients’ recognition hangs in the balance.
The most important thing that I learned at my internship was an extension of the biggest lesson of my first year of law school. It is that the intellectual work required to even be able to speak, is tremendous. I suppose it seems like an obvious premise, but in our social, political, and media culture the entitlement to argue without trying to truly understand the complexities of what you are arguing about seems painfully commonplace. There is responsibility in argument. There is work. There is compassion. There is enormous preparation. Because to advocate for a cause you must do the work to understand it and have the heart and capacity to make those around you aware as well. I have always been what can be called a good student, but law school and legal work has demonstrated a whole new meaning to my understanding of discipline, which I am grateful for.
I hope to gain more experience in public interest if the opportunity allows. I hope that the profound lessons and insights from this internship not only continue to inform my legal career but all aspects of my life. Thank you again for the work that you do in easing the financial burden of students trying to build their careers. It is my hope that your investments reap the most beautiful rewards.
Name: Lensa Abdukadir ’24
Name of Fellowship: UB Law Alumni Association Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellowship
Placement: Disability Rights New York
Location: Rochester, NY
One important lesson I have learned from this fellowship: “There is responsibility in argument. There is work. There is compassion. There is enormous preparation. Because to advocate for a cause you must do the work to understand it and have the heart and capacity to make those around you aware as well.”