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Rising 3L Dy Thurgood spends summer advocating for disability rights


Before attending law school at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, Dy Thurgood’s career and education focused on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. With a passion for disability rights and intersectionality, she chose to come to law school in hopes of continuing her advocacy for disability rights.

Her summer position as a legal intern for Women Enabled International (WEI) is giving her that opportunity.

WEI is a nonprofit organization that works at the intersection of women’s rights and disability rights to advance the rights of women, girls, and non-binary people with disabilities around the world through advocacy and education.

“WEI has an impressively stacked team of women with disabilities, in all of their diversity, working to improve the lives of women, girls, and non-binary people with disabilities,” she said. “This mission is integrated into every conversation and strategy, which is simply infectious. I leave every meeting feeling invigorated and emboldened by their work. It’s truly a powerful process.”

Thurgood is assisting in the collection of lived experiences for U.S. women and non-binary individuals with disabilities. These forums will be used to create U.S. policy and advocacy efforts.

She is also working with one of WEI’s international-based attorneys to facilitate several webinar trainings on Gender-based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of women and girls with disabilities and disability inclusion in the workplace. These trainings are for international State parties, government representatives in the social and health sectors, and other United Nation partners and entities.

After law school, Thurgood plans to further advance the rights of people with disabilities by working in policy and advocacy

“WEI is training me to listen, think, work, and act beyond my present level of understandings,” she said. “I am given hands-on experience with the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms by preparing and participating in deliverables that directly address the needs and concerns of women, girls, and non-binary people with disabilities. This is invaluable.”

Learn more about Dy and her summer position with WEI with this Q&A.

Why did this position at Women Enabled International interest you?

The opportunity to extern with Women Enabled International (WEI) piqued my interest because it targets international policy and advocacy at the intersection of gender and disability.

Why do you think you were selected for this position? What made you a good fit?

I was selected for this position because of my passion for disability rights and dedication to intersectionality. These commitments are reflected in my pre-law school career and education, which focused on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, in addition to my law school experiences such as student organizations and summer internships.

What type of work are you doing on a day-to-day basis?

I am fortunate enough to be working on both domestic and international projects. Presently, I am assisting in the collection of lived experiences for U.S. women and non-binary individuals with disabilities. These forums will be used to create U.S. policy and advocacy efforts. Additionally, I am working with one of our international-based attorneys to facilitate several webinar trainings on (1) Gender-based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of women and girls with disabilities and (2) disability inclusion in the workplace. These trainings are for international State parties, government representatives in the social and health sectors, and other United Nation partners and entities.

What has been the best part about working at Women Enabled International?

WEI has an impressively stacked team of women with disabilities, in all of their diversity, working to improve the lives of women, girls, and non-binary people with disabilities. This mission is integrated into every conversation and strategy, which is simply infectious. I leave every meeting feeling invigorated and emboldened by their work. It’s truly a powerful process.

What is something you’ve learned while working at Women Enabled International?

While working for WEI I have learned a great deal about the lived experiences and global realities of women, girls, and non-binary people with disabilities. Additionally, I have been introduced to the complexities of the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms that are currently in place. This equates to 9 international human rights treaties and 10 Human Rights Treaty Monitoring Bodies (TMBs).

What are your future career goals? How does this opportunity prepare you for your future?

I chose to attend law school to further advance the rights of people with disabilities. I hope to achieve this dream by working in policy and advocacy post-law school. WEI is training me to listen, think, work, and act beyond my present level of understandings. I am given hands-on experience with the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms by preparing and participating in deliverables that directly address the needs and concerns of women, girls, and non-binary people with disabilities. This is invaluable.

What is something you’ve done this summer besides working for Women Enabled International?

Outside of externship and class, I’ve been spending every possible minute outside of my home– whether it’s taking a mental break and shooting some hoops on my driveway or taking a drive up to Millcreek Canyon. I’ve tried to enjoy the beauty of Utah summers.