AMERICORPS LEGAL FELLOW, CLASS OF 2010
Name of Host Organization: Mississippi Center for Justice
City, State: Biloxi, Mississippi
Issue area: Community/Economic Development, Environmental Justice, Immigrant Populations/Minorities
The AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship at the Mississippi Center for Justice provided me an opportunity to get on-the-ground legal experience while working on an issue of national interest – the BP Oil Spill. Furthermore, as a native Vietnamese speaker I feel that I am uniquely positioned to be able to make a positive impact, as one third of the Gulf’s fishermen are Vietnamese. I went to law school because I wanted to help others. This clearly is my chance to realize that hope.
Vietnamese Americans are disproportionately impacted by the BP Oil Spill – as much as 80% of Vietnamese Americans in Mississippi make a living in the seafood industry. Their economic woes are compounded by the fact that many of them are not proficient in English and fear seeking help. During my fellowship I hope to perfect simple, effective and replicable methods of outreaching to and educating minority communities affected by the oil spill – the Vietnamese American community in particular – as to their rights regarding the claims process.