The intersectionality of public interest work and advocacy is one of its essential attributes; as a DACA recipient and Registered Nurse, Hina Naveed ’21 finds it to also be a source of inspiration. “Movement lawyering is an impactful thing and you feel it tangibly when you study at CUNY Law,” she shares. “In my experience, I have found that there is a real need for part-time student advocacy, and I highly recommend students get involved. Most recently, I was the co-President of Student Government which allowed me to see some of the inner workings at CUNY Law. By participating in meetings, working with faculty, and collaborating with fellow students, I was able to see the benefit of advocacy, and the importance of being part of the change we wish to see.”
Hina has long been a vocal advocate for DACA recipients. More recently, she has leveraged her experience and expertise as a healthcare practitioner to bring attention to how vulnerable DREAMers are during the COVID-19 pandemic – and how much our country needs their contributions to our workforce and communities. In her recent op-ed in the Daily News, she details the devastation for 1.25 million DREAMers and the nation alike: more than 62,000 DACA-eligible individuals work in healthcare right now, and we need them.
Conscious of the discrepancies in outcomes people further marginalized by the U.S. healthcare system face, Hina brings a unique set of experiences and expertise to her studies at CUNY Law. In her work with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs with leadership from brilliant women lawyers of color, Hina saw and was inspired by the power of local policy. She decided to pursue a law degree to advance her healthcare and immigration advocacy work and influence intersectional policy reform. CUNY Law was the clear choice.
“As someone who needs to work through school because I don’t qualify for loans as a DACA recipient, I wanted to go somewhere I could make a difference, and be surrounded by a community of like-minded, progressive, forward-thinking trailblazers. I’ve been so grateful to have had this experience at CUNY Law.”
Ensuring that advocates like Hina are able to access a legal education, as she brings vital lived and professional experiences to the practice of law, is central to CUNY Law’s mission and a call to action for law schools across the country. DACA grants Hina the ability to access occupational licenses, in-state tuition, a driver’s license, bank accounts, and so much more essential to student success but only derived from the rights of citizenship.
Hina notes that we must call on legal minds, attorneys, and advocates to think about the impact of immigration status proactively, regardless of field of practice. While she will continue her DACA advocacy, Hina reminds us that DACA is temporary and there are millions of people without any immigration relief. “It’s important to connect with people and organizations already doing the work,” she says.
You can follow Hina’s quest for healthcare justice and her advocacy work on Twitter @hina_nav and @drmaction.