Local Hot-Shot Attorney Appointed Director of USCIS

 

 

Nicole (right) representing at ECAASU 2017 Conference. Image credit ECAASU 2017 FB page

 

 

In 10 years, that is also what I hope the headline will be. Nicole Fink, a mentor, friend, and attorney, is an amazing example of how we as individuals can affect change in a community. Today, she is an immigration attorney and legal consult for NGOs, but in ten years, I think America’s families would benefit greatly from her appointment as USCIS director, bringing families together, making immigration easier, and ending the immigration backlogs. When I asked her if she wanted to become president, she kindly declined, “I would gray hairs so easily!”

Last week, I interviewed Nicole Fink, who I worked under at the East Coast Asian American Student Union. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule, amidst all of the immigration-related chaos and consults to speak with me about how she got started as an activist and community organizer, and where she sees herself in the future.

We discussed a variety of issues pertaining to her work, but what stood out to me was how she pinpointed where our issues with organizing and engaging lie— empathy. We discussed how it was difficult to engage youth because many feel that they have to be personally affected in order to become involved and be engaged with these social and political issues.

Nicole discussed with me the ways that she believed we could start engaging more youth, and I actually had a moment of realization; she discussed the importance of mentorship and how that is needed to kickstart each person’s activism.

The media was also a big point of discussion, and as AAPI activists, we agreed that the problems that Asian Americans faced were not being represented in mainstream media, because they were not the stories that people bought into. (We wanted to clarify, though, that we were advocating for all people of color, and for fair representation of everyone).

If you’re interested in hearing the full interview, in which we also talk extensively about North Carolina’s political climate and the recent ECAASU conference, go to this link of all associated files, where there is an audio file and a transcription as well.

 

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About Calvin

Hi everyone!

I’m Calvin, a Junior now in the Architecture Department and excited to participate in the CoDesign studio this semester! I come to this class as a designer and activist– I hope to explore how we can apply art and technology in innovative ways to create and inspire movements.

I grew up all over New York City– Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, in diverse neighborhoods such as Flushing and one of Brooklyn’s many Chinatowns. Growing up in New York, I’ve developed a keen sense of the problems that minorities face living in urban environments. As a designer, I like to tackle these problems and examine how we can design the built environment to be more accommodating, safe, and provide equal opportunities.

During high school and at MIT, I worked with ECAASU (East Coast Asian American Student Union), a youth-led NGO. While working with ECAASU, I was engaged with people from organizations such as WHIAAPI (which got me thinking more about policy and education) and NAAPIMHA (mental health and intersectionality) at the yearly ECAASU Conference.

Coincidentally, this past weekend was the 2017 Conference in North Carolina, co-hosted by the Triangle-Area universities: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and North Carolina State University. This is what inspires me this weekend– the conference brings in thousands of youth from all over the country to focus on the issues that matter to us as students, activists, organizers, et cetera. This year I was unable to attend, but what stood out to me was their passion and reason for hosting in NC this year.

In the past couple of months leading up to the conference, there was a lot of discussion about North Carolina, specifically. ECAASU has brought themselves out to North Carolina to be engaged in the conversation and has shown solidarity with the marginalized communities in the South.

Looking forward to working with you all!