2011 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Jessica Duncan Felfoldi
Jessica Duncan Felfoldi
Having been a foster child for five years, I have a passion for helping those marginalized by society. Having escaped foster care with the help of a few dedicated advocates, I also have faith that legal advocacy can make real changes in a person’s life. After spending a summer with Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Disability Rights Project, I was convinced that some of the most marginalized and overlooked persons in modern society were clients with disabilities stuck in nursing homes. This project is a manifestation of my faith that law can be tool to dismantle their institutional marginalization.
Making the connection:
Though the potential of social justice drew me to law, the actual connection between classroom lessons and real world change resonated most clearly when I joined a legislative child law clinic. I found myself drafting statutory language and pitching bill amendments to state legislators that could make a definite impact.
Surviving law school:
Get involved with a student group dedicated to public interest law and take ownership of a project. Build your skills set and clarify your interests by participating in as many public interest-oriented clinics and externships as you can manage. Seek out public interest-minded faculty for academic guidance.
No Pity by Joseph Shapiro, this book is a great introduction to the disability rights movement.
The God of Small Things is beautiful and haunting; the characters will remain with you long after you finish this book.
The Hunger Games, read this trilogy purely for fun!
Words to live by:
We believe in the worth and dignity of each human being. All people on earth have an equal claim to life, liberty, and justice -- and no idea, ideal, or philosophy is superior to a single human life.
- David O. Rankin