By: Kieaira Lucas
The Stop Hate Project works with diverse communities across the country to respond to their needs and strengthen their capacity to combat hate. To do so we rely on a broad range of expertise from our team members including undergraduate and legal interns, as well as fellows and full time staff. In January we welcomed two new interns to the Stop Hate Project team, Ravenn Triplett and Taylor Dumpson. They bring a wealth knowledge about working with disadvantaged and minority populations, and true passion and dedication to combatting hate crimes and ending discrimination.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Ravenn is currently a graduating senior, studying at University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in both Psychology and Economics. Originally from the quiet suburban town in California called Fontana, Ravenn knew from a very young age that she wanted to get away from her low-opportunity upbringing to see what bigger cities had to offer. As the child of two former police officers, Ravenn was raised to help others wherever she could and was heavily involved in her community as a high school member of The Rotary Club, California Scholarship Federation (CSF), and National Honor Society (NHS). The various food banks, clothing drives, and charity events that she volunteered at forced her to identify and contemplate the stark inequalities that she would eventually dedicate her college career to learning about and fighting. This interest slowly blossomed into a passion as she learned more about international human rights issues at Model United Nations delegation conferences.
As Ravenn began to think about where she wanted to attend college, although she knew that she did not what to stay close to her hometown, she did not want to be too far away from her family either. Coming from a lower-middle class household, she knew that she wanted to attend a school that was high quality, yet affordable. UC Santa Barbara was both of those things. However, as a first-generation student, attending a school that was clearly, in her opinion, lacking in diversity forced her to get involved in the effort to support others attempting to navigate the same, sometimes unsupportive, environment.
While at UC, Santa Barbara, Ravenn got very involved in advocacy through various clubs, organizations, and employment opportunities. For a few years she worked on-campus Housing as a Community Service Coordinator and a Resident Assistant. In both of these roles, Ravenn went through extensive diversity workshops and trainings in order to help her to better connect and work with the minority and low-income populations that she served. Off-campus, she has fought to combat Summer Learning Loss in young Latinx communities as a part of United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun program. However, her most memorable college experience came in her senior year while studying abroad in Bangkok, Thailand. During her time with Boat People SOS, she taught English to Vietnamese refugees and helped them to develop their embroidering business plan. Through this experience, she was able to gain teaching skills, leadership skills, and interpersonal skills. More than anything, the experience solidified her belief in the importance of strong human rights legislation and lawyers that use said laws to protect vulnerable populations. Although Ravenn does not know for sure yet if she would like to be a lawyer, she says that she cannot see herself in a career where she is not helping people or fighting for equality.
Our other new Undergraduate intern, Taylor, comes to us locally as a Newman Civic Fellow, majoring in Law and Society at American University. Although Taylor currently resides in Washington, DC, she is originally from Salisbury, MD, a small, rural town about 2 hours outside of the nation’s capital. Taylor comes to us with extensive knowledge about the law, issues surrounding the law, and the criminal justice system. Having a lawyer as a mom and a dad that holds a degree in Criminal Justice, she has been exposed to and fought for issues relating to discrimination and unfair treatment since she was a young child. Like many towns across the country, the school districts in Salisbury still reflect segregation. Black and minority children tend to go to school in a different district than other children based on racially segregated communities. Taylor saw this as unfair treatment and, from a young age, was present and very vocal at Town hall meetings advocating for re-districting of schools in Salisbury. Her fight to end discrimination did not stop there. When Taylor was in high school, Trayvon Martin was tragically killed in Florida and it immediately had a huge impact her. She felt like she could kind of relate to him since they were so close in age, so she began to follow his story closely and got involved in protests and campaigns demanding justice. Taylor believes that this is something else that sparked her interests in civil rights and the civil rights movement of the 21st century.
Her activism did not end there. In college, Taylor has been extremely active on campus, fighting for equal treatment and protection for all students. AU has had numerous incidents of discrimination against Black and minority students on their campus and from her freshmen year, she has been actively trying, not only put an end to all discriminatory incidents, but she has also worked to create a campus environment where students actually feel safe. Last May, Taylor was sworn in as AU’s Student Government President, being the first African-American women ever to hold this position. Although Taylor was super excited for this role, the excitement quickly turned to fear as the very next day after she was sworn in, bananas were hung from nooses all over campus and she was being cyber attacked by anonymous white supremacists online. Although she was shook, she still went on to begin in her new role as SG President, opening a new center on campus called HUB for organizing, multiculturalism, and equity (HOME), a space on campus where students can chill and relax in a safe and welcoming environment. Taylor has also testified before US Congress and submitted numerous written testimonies before the US Senate regarding Title IX issues. Upon graduation, Taylor hopes to attend law school at Harvard University and go on to become a civil rights lawyer!
We are very excited about both of our amazing new interns and the incredible talent that they bring to our team!