Practical Experience Offers Humphrey School Student Local Context for Human Rights Agenda
November 28, 2017—What do safe consumption sites and the soda tax have to do with human and civil rights? Humphrey School of Public Affairs student Maria Terra found out during her summer internship with the Seattle Human Rights Commission at the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR).
Terra, a student in the University of Minnesota’s Master of Human Rights degree program, says her internship with a municipal human rights office gave her the opportunity to develop her skills in teamwork, research, writing, and public speaking. She was involved in several projects throughout the summer, including organizing neighborhood meetings to discuss issues like housing, homelessness, and the opioid epidemic.
Terra also helped research and write letters and testimony on various topics the Seattle City Council is debating, such as affordable housing, a tax on sugary drinks, and “safe consumption sites,” where drug users can get access to clean needles and referrals to treatment programs.
While many people think human rights advocates deal only with situations in other countries, Terra saw first-hand how human rights principles like economic security, health care, and personal safety can be applied on a local level in the United States.