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July 24, 2023 SOGI Commission

ABA awards 3 LGBTQ+ scholarships

Three law students have received LGBTQ+ Public Interest Scholarships of $5,000 each from the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to work in the public interest arena for the summer/fall of 2023. Now in its fifth year, the scholarship program is aimed at law students or law school graduates studying for the bar who are either LGBTQ or who will be doing public interest work in the LGBTQ+ space.

LGBTQ+ Public Interest scholarship recipients (from left) Zakiya Lewis, Taylor Elyse Mills and Indira Rahman.

LGBTQ+ Public Interest scholarship recipients (from left) Zakiya Lewis, Taylor Elyse Mills and Indira Rahman.

The recipients are:

Zakiya Lewis, a 2023 graduate of NYU School of Law, earned her undergraduate degree in sociology and African American studies from Harvard University. She taught middle school in Washington, D.C., for five years before enrolling in law school with the goal of advocating for marginalized communities as a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar at NYU Legal Defense. Lewis will begin her legal career as a Skadden Fellow with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, challenging legislation that opposes diversity and inclusion and focusing on support for low-income students with marginalized, intersectional identities ─ particularly queer students of color.

Taylor Elyse Mills completed her law degree this spring and is a doctoral candidate in philosophy with a specialization in engaged philosophy of law and policy at Michigan State University. Her scholarship and professional work are social justice oriented, with a particular focus on addressing sexual and gender-based violence against queer, BIPOC communities and developing better policies to support survivors while preventing future violence. Mills advocates for addressing issues of social justice through intersectional, anti-colonial, cross-disciplinary and community-based ways. This fall, she will lead a data ethics project at the Research Institute for Structural Change at MSU to increase transparency around legal failures to support queer, BIPOC survivors.

Indira Rahman, a queer, nonbinary asylum seeker from Bangladesh, received a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics and government from Franklin & Marshall College and a law degree from Temple University, both in Pennsylvania. They served as the lead researcher on the world’s first quantitative index on LGBTQ+ human rights in 204 countries, which was the first global landscape study of transgender rights and was published in the Journal of Human Rights. This summer, while interning at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and learning about the legal dimensions of international finance and inclusive development, Rahman will craft a case study on economic access and legal inclusion featuring LGBTQ+ asylum seekers.

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