Two Brooklyn Law Students-—Maweza Razzaq ’13 and Riti Singh ’12-—were awarded South Asian Bar Association of New York Fund (SABANY Fund) public interest fellowship grants. Through a very competitive application process, the SABANY Fund awards annual fellowships to outstanding law students who have demonstrated a commitment to public service so that they may spend their summer working in the public interest sector in unpaid positions.
|Riti Singh '12|
To be eligible, candidates must be either law students of South Asian descent working in an unpaid legal internship or law students from any background who are spending at least ten weeks of the summer in unpaid legal internships focusing on the needs of the South Asian community. Through a combined effort of private donors and individual ticket sales, SABANY was able to award $18,000 in fellowships to a total of five students at its 8th Annual Public Interest Fellowship Benefit, held at Aicon Gallery on April 13, 2011.
Razzaq will use her award to work as a legal and policy intern at Sakhi for South Asian Women, a community-based organization committed to ending violence against women of South Asian origin. “Coming to law school opened my eyes to the issues facing South Asian women in the U.S. and overseas, and my background can help me advocate for these women,” said Razzaq, who is from Pakistan. “I can relate to my clients because I am like them. I understand the unique pressures of a traditional culture. There is a real need for South Asian women to speak up for other South Asian women. In this way, change can come from within.”
She hopes the fellowship will mark the beginning of a long career devoted to serving the public interest. “I have always wanted to help people without a voice,” said Razzaq. “I consider myself really blessed. If my parents had stayed in Pakistan, my life would be very different, and my goal has always been to help others who may not have been as fortunate. I hope to use my legal education to do that.”
Singh will use her fellowship grant to intern at the Legal Aid Society of the New York Juvenile Rights Practice. A former Teach for America Corps member who taught ninth grade English in post-Katrina New Orleans, Singh came to Brooklyn Law School with a desire to advocate for children. As the oldest of 11 grandchildren, Singh has always been interested in children and their well-being. A Bergstrom Child Welfare Fellow, a Sparer Public Interest Fellow, and a BLSPI Fellow, Singh is currently a legal intern at Children’s Rights, and has also interned at the Children’s Law Center and spent a semester working with the Safe Harbor Clinic. “My ideal job would blend my interest in juvenile rights with immigration law,” she said.
“I feel really honored to be a recipient of the SABANY fellowship, and I am really happy to be a part of an organization that supports such a wide variety of public interest programming,” said Singh. “The other recipients are working in different roles in the public interest, and I am looking forward to connecting with them and learning about their experiences as well. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”