Advocacy for Low-Income LGBTQ and HIV+ New Yorkers
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The LGBTQ and HIV unit at Brooklyn Legal Services provides free legal services to LGBTQ and HIV+ residents of Brooklyn on problems related to housing, public benefits, immigration, and employment law. Paralegal interns meet with clients, attend community meetings, accompany attorneys to court, and do advocacy research and writing on behalf of clients. I was responsible for doing research related to conditions for LGBTQ and HIV+ people in Venezuela and in Turkmenistan for asylum applications. I also worked on reaching out to current clients to see if they were eligible for a rent freeze program and helped them apply if they were. Working side by side with the committed advocates at BLS showed me the power of understanding how the legal system works and how that knowledge can be used to help those who our society seeks to disenfranchise.