Madison’s internship 2016

September 15, 2021

During the fall of 2016, I interned at the Refugee Empowerment International (then known as Refugees International Japan) while studying abroad. It was an impactful experience.  

“For Americans like me, 2016 is a notorious year because it was the year that Donald Trump was elected president. I remember watching the 2016 election results filter in while I was volunteering at an REI event. It was surreal to be working abroad to support refugees while discovering that my home country had elected a man whose campaign was based on anti-immigrant rhetoric.  

My experience with REI inspired me to become involved in the immigrant rights movement in the United States when I returned to Philadelphia from Tokyo. After my experience with REI, I volunteered at the U.S.-Mexico border and saw firsthand the detention of asylum seekers at the border. Witnessing this inspired me to enroll in law school. As a law student, I had the opportunity to represent asylum seekers detained in a family detention center outside of Philadelphia and to represent immigrants living in Philadelphia seeking access to public benefits and healthcare. Ultimately, my time at REI inspired me to “think globally, act locally.” I just graduated law school and look forward to a career of applying the lessons I learned during my time at REI. “ 

Madison Gray