Massachusetts Immigrant and Advocacy Coalition, Boston, MA
This summer, I had the privilege to intern with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition. MIRA was founded in 1987 and advocates for the rights of immigrants and refugees at federal, state, and local levels. MIRA’s work encompasses political, legislative, and administrative advocacy as well as education and strategic communications and immigration integration services. MIRA runs citizenship clinics where individuals can access free assistance with the process toward citizenship.
As an immigrant from Haiti, my family and I have greatly benefited from the work that MIRA does and continues to do; and having the opportunity to give back was incredibly rewarding and inspiring.
During my time at MIRA, I served on the strategic planning team conducting public policy analysis. I worked closely with a small team to research, compile, and analyze data. Some of the tasks I performed include researching the current ecosystem with the goal of identifying best practices as well as noting where immigrant organizations are lacking; I summarized my findings into concise figures and documents, and presented my research to supervisors and my team. I often sat in on and assisted in interviews and meetings with staff members; this was an informative experience because I was able to learn about other departments in the organizations and how they all work together to ensure that MIRA runs efficiently.
My research at MIRA focused primarily on women’s health and education policy. I used my interest and background in health and medicine to explore trends regarding immigrant women’s health, a topic that is understudied yet incredibly important. I found alarming disparities regarding women’s health, specifically maternal health correlated to citizenship status.
I also researched the work that local and national immigrant organizations and advocates are doing to support women and mothers. This research is highly relevant and timely amid a global pandemic that further marginalizes an already underserved population.
I am confident that this internship will influence the academic courses that I take in the future and my professional career. This experience allowed me to merge my interest in healthcare and research to study best practices that should be incorporated to better support mothers and children. I used an intersectional approach to study healthcare inequities, specifically the multiple factors of one’s identity that affect a person’s health and healthcare services accessed. Rather than thinking of healthcare and immigration advocacy as two separate spheres, I was able to research the ways they come together and collaborate to ensure care for women and children.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Class of 1975, and ’68 Center for Career Exploration for making this opportunity possible. I will forever cherish the skills and knowledge that I gained from this experience, and it would not have been possible without their support.