Civil Rights Unit Intern
My name is Cynthia Chockalingam; I am a first-year at the University of Southern California, where I study International Relations [IR]. I come from a Tamil family where I was surrounded by Tamil culture. I grew up in a family that stood for Tamil rights as the Indian government imposed Hindi, indigenous communities faced castism, and Tamil people in Sri Lanka faced genocide. As this entire community is facing challenges in South Asia, I became passionate about Tamil human rights.
At USC, I am involved in Mock Trial, Agents of Change, and Delta Phi Epsilon [DPE]—a pre-professional IR society. I am the Academic Development Coordinator in DPE; in this organization, we work on rebuilding the IR department to a prestige it once had as the second IR school in the world. I am also on a team that meets with professors to ensure their syllabi are representative of those they teach about, such as including South Asian voices. I joined Mock Trial with the hope of establishing a better foundation for policy making and immigration law because innocent people around the world, such as many Tamil people who lack financial resources, deserve to have a path to a brighter future. Through Agents of Change, the only civil rights undergraduate clinic, I was connected with SAN, where I am working on our online presence—through publications and multimedia—and civil rights.