Photo of Samah Sisay

Samah Sisay

  • Hosted by African Services Committee
  • Sponsored by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Samah will provide legal services and advocacy tools to African and Caribbean immigrant women in New York City who have faced gender-based violence, with a specific focus on the inclusion of transgender women.

The experiences of immigrant women impacted by gender-based violence are often exacerbated by their specific position as immigrants, such as difficulties obtaining employment and lack of access to information and legal representation. African and Caribbean immigrant women are often further marginalized due to a lack of cultural understanding and racial bias. This project aims to increase the number of African and Caribbean immigrant women in New York City who are empowered to seek relief as survivors of gender-based violence. This requires the inclusion of transgender immigrant women who, like cisgender women, are impacted by violence due to their race, immigration status, and gender identity. This work is especially necessary within African and Caribbean communities where sexism and transphobia are major issues that hinder women’s ability to seek services and advocate for change.

Samah is the right person for the project because:

  • She represented immigrant survivors of gender-based violence for two years as a student advocate in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law
  • She immigrated to the United States from West Africa at a young age and has spent years advocating and engaging with African and Caribbean immigrant communities
  • She has worked as an advocate for policy issues impacting black immigrants and led collective spaces for women where participants were encouraged to build voice by discussing difficult topics like abuse

Fellowship Plans

In the first six months, Samah will:

  • Reach out to women’s rights, LGBTQI, and African service providers and associations to create a network for support, technical assistance, referrals, and broader advocacy
  • Create an outreach plan for sharing information about legal services and the women’s collective to African and Caribbean immigrant women
  • Identify cases for direct representation from referral network and current African Services Committee clients
  • Begin direct representation and the women’s collective meetings


Reconstructing Homes as Safe and Accepting Places

Attacking the Feminine and Foreign

High Visa Overstay Rates Linked to Immigration Policies

African Asylum-Seekers Could Bear Brunt of Proposed Travel Curbs

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