Reflections by interns on their work at SALC

July 28, 2010

Reflective piece on my SALC experience

By Brian Sperber

            I live my life as a proud and open gay man.  I am the president of the University of Miami School of Law’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) student group; I am the National LGBT Law Student Bar Association’s Florida and Puerto Rico regional chair; and most importantly, receive tremendous amounts of support and complete acceptance. Moreover, I feel no shame or fear regarding my sexual orientation.

While interning at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), I did a lot of work on case of the Malawian Gay couple arrested for engaging in a traditional engagement ceremony this past December.  While writing a memo analyzing the lingering effects of the case and what it meant for the LGBT population of Malawi, I thought of my own life, relationships, identity, and for the first time I realized both how truly fortunate I was and how much work needed to be done so that the rest of the LGBT community can enjoy the same freedom that I take for granted.

It was then that I also understood how courageous Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were.  They knew that their actions would most likely result in public scorn and incarceration.  It is bravery like this that changes the world, and I hope that eventually people like Steven and Tiwonge can live the open and free life I take for granted.  It was then when I realized just how important the work of organizations such as SALC in that it fights to allow people the opportunity to live the lives they deserve.

 

An Introspective Glance at My Internship with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre

By Daryl Bloomberg

After taking courses in international law and international human rights law at the University of Miami but having only worked within the United States, I was eager and excited at the opportunity to delve into the work that I had learned so much about from my academic experience.  While interning at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, I worked with inspiring attorneys from diverse backgrounds with completely different perspectives on both the human rights violations being perpetrated within Southern Africa and their possible solutions. 

Not only did I research controversial issues such as HIV discrimination, forced sterilization, customary marriage law, media censorship, and the abuse of universal jurisdiction over African officials, but I took action through drafting letters to various UN and African Union officials concerning human rights violations.  In addition, this internship afforded me the opportunity to meet refugees and victims of some of the egregious crimes that have occurred within Africa, which had an extremely memorable impact on me.  I feel privileged to have been provided with the opportunity to work at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and my experience here will definitely be a building block in my career of advocacy for the advancement of human rights.

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