Taryn McLaughlin ’23

Justice 4 Housing, Roxbury, MA

Justice 4 Housing is a nonprofit organization working towards increasing resources and housing opportunities for justice involved individuals. Our primary goal this summer has been advocating for our Homes For All bill, which will prohibit housing discrimination in rentals, leases, subleases, or occupancy agreements in Boston on the basis of arrest or conviction record. This work required a team of legislative and legal interns, and I have been working on the legislative team with a focus on outreach and research. Speaking and bargaining with legislators has provided a lot of insight into the legislative process, and I’ve learned the importance of legal language. This internship has also required a lot of independent work and initiative when reaching out to representatives. I’ve had to learn how to catch a legislator’s attention with as few words as possible, and how to make the most of the short time we are allotted. Our research has involved studying bills in surrounding states that combat recidivism, and taking the successful aspects of those bills and introducing them as amendments to our own and a future one. We have also started writing a bill we hope to introduce next session that will allow individuals with juvenile records to expunge their public records after an allotted time without reoffending. The writing process has demonstrated just how much we have all learned these past three months.

Weekly team meeting.

Recognizing that I had previous experience with graphic design, my supervisor added me to the graphics team, and I have been working on several projects since. It has been interesting to discover that this has been the work I’ve enjoyed the most. Representing organizations and movements through art requires learning new aesthetics and testing the breadth of material. There were moments when I found our designated color palette restricting, so I had to learn how to reimagine an image or layout with a set number of colors. It was also really hard to totally scrap a project I had spent many hours working on in favor of a much simpler design. However, while this was hard, I still had so much fun creating a variety of options for each project, and it was so rewarding to see my designs being put up on our social media and being sent out to constituents. I am considering pursuing a double major in studio art because of my experience, and would love to learn about future career paths that would allow me to continue to work as a graphic designer.

Overall, I have enjoyed my work so much that I have asked to stay on as a graphic design intern through the fall. I am very excited to continue working in this capacity while continuing to grow the relationships I have built with my coordinator and fellow interns. To everyone who has helped me throughout this experience, I am so grateful. I have learned so much about lobbying for legislation and I am really looking forward to watching how this opportunity flourishes and influences my future career choices.