Aaron Greene ’19 spent the summer in New York City as one of only 12 law students nationwide selected as an Ella Baker Intern at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Greene gives credit to a law school classmate for introducing him to the life-changing opportunity, which already has shaped his future and deepened his commitment to helping vulnerable populations. Here, Greene reflects on the internship in his own words:
During my undergraduate years, the University of South Carolina provided an atmosphere for me to grow in significant ways as a person and as a professional. I knew the law school would offer a similar opportunity and atmosphere that would motivate me to reach my full potential.
During my first year of law school, [2018 alumna] Lindsay Richardson shared a list of internship opportunities that included the Center for Constitutional Rights Ella Baker program. Going into my second year, the Ella Baker internship was number one on my list.
I worked on numerous projects that included prisoner rights, anti-militarism and anti-discrimination. One project dealt with a native tribe that presented claims of discrimination. I worked with two fellow interns to prepare briefs for our supervising attorneys. There was some uncertainty as to whether CCR would be able to take on the case. But during our last week, it was announced that they had officially filed the case in federal court. Witnessing this process and having a role in these efforts was an amazing opportunity.
The experience already has impacted my career goals. For the past few months I have been working on an initiative called Earn Our Vote, a voter education, empowerment and mobilization initiative led by black law students from across the country. Various people at CCR provided incredible ideas and strategies that I have applied to our efforts.
I am currently crafting a project that I will pursue after law school that focuses on grassroots-organizing and addressing concerns in vulnerable communities. Before this experience I honestly viewed it as being nearly impossible, but CCR has significantly expanded my abilities and confidence.
Being an Ella Baker intern is not a two-month experience. It’s an induction into a lifelong bond with some of the most passionate and caring people I have ever met. It was tough leaving, but I found comfort in knowing that a dream had become reality and I was returning to South Carolina as a better human being.
Pictured above: Aaron Greene (right) with fellow Ella Baker intern Beth Patel.