Unlike many Portland State University students, Nancy Ramirez is spending her summer break at Harvard University. Ramirez was chosen to be part of Civil Rights Summer, an academic internship/fellowship program for college students who are devoted to civil rights and social justice.
“Nancy is a great person. Her warmth, vitality and commitment to social justice is wonderful and inspirational,” said Jamae Kawauchi, the legal and policy advocate associate for the program.
According to Kawauchi only 20 students from around the country were chosen from hundreds of applicants.
The program is designed to develop emerging civil rights leaders. They sought out students who were examples of leadership and who had a passion for civil rights, Kawauchi said.
The first week of the program is an academic week at Harvard University and the remaining seven weeks the students intern at one of 180 civil rights organizations in Washington, D.C.
The program consists of lectures and panel presentations with special projects, workshops, roundtable discussions, and hands-on field placements.
The Harvard training program focuses on historical and contemporary civil rights issues, advocacy skill building, leadership development, critical thinking, reflection and problem solving.
“Nancy will be able to translate her experience this summer into her scholastic work, her community activities and future profession. She was a great representative of what Portland State has to offer to social justice causes,” Kawauchi said.
The program is a collaborative effort between Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, The Civil Rights Project at Harvard and the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights.
“She [Ramirez] is quietly committed, but she is very committed.”
This is the second year the program has been offered.
Civil Rights Summer awards the students with direct scholarships at the end of the program as well as providing them with money for expenses.
Those interested in the Civil Rights Summer can log on to www.law.harvard.edu/civilrights.