OutRight Action International, New York, NY
My internship at OutRight Action International started in June 2021. The group functions as a globally operational non-governmental organization—OutRight, formerly known as IGLHRC (International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission) is the only current LGBTQ+ advocacy group with permanent consultative status at the United Nations. Historically, the group has campaigned against anti-LGBTQ+ violence and human rights violations internationally. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this has evolved into active campaigning in the Global North in order to support organizations across the globe, particularly those in the Global South, already operating at an economic disadvantage. At the time I joined OutRight, the organization was already wholly engaged in fundraising efforts related to Pride, and the appointment of its Executive Director, Jessica Stern, to the position of U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons under the Biden administration. Though I worked remotely, my experience there was outstanding.
As a Communications Intern, my department operated at a busy pace, made necessary by the ever-fickle nature of LGBTQ+ protections both domestically and internationally. As such, the total body of my work was broad in scope, but always clearly directed by my supervisors. The majority of my publicly-available work became social media content, viewable on channels such as @outrightintl on Instagram. I also helped develop the visual identity of OutRight during my time there, which can be found in examples like the Instagram account’s graphical assets and presentation of their logo on social media content. My internal work involved developing outreach materials and compiling lists of international LGBTQ+ figures and organizations with which to collaborate. At times, my media creation skills and internal development skills met, which became useful to projects like the finalization of a Google-funded briefing on the international state of pride, and the creation of internally-used materials for the departure of Jessica Stern from OutRight.
As a sociology major and a global studies concentrator, my time at OutRight put both my theoretical knowledge and practical experience gained at Williams to professional use. I recognized international LGBTQ+ organizations and advocacy groups as acting in relation to broader, social phenomena occurring across the world. The connections and professional development I gained at OutRight will benefit me throughout any career field I might pursue; however, they have reaffirmed my targeted field of advertising and communications, reminding me that not only are my skills hyper-suited for such an industry, but revealing that it’s always possible to involve advocacy, activism, and visibility in my work. My internship also confirmed what skills would most benefit me in a post-Covid-19 workplace. My work with OutRight has left me deeply optimistic about my professional prospects after graduating from Williams, and given OutRight’s consultative position, has led me to consider more direct work at the United Nations in the near future.
I am grateful to the Class of 1972 and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for this opportunity, and I feel secure in that I know my education at Williams will support me now, and in the many years to come.