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Advocates for Community Alternatives

Accra, Ghana

Evelyn Zheng, JD’18 will be working with Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA), based in Accra, Ghana, on challenges in human rights and development. They first became involved in political activism while studying for their bachelor’s at the University of Texas at Austin. Their issues of focus were women’s, immigrants’, and LGBTQ rights. After they began attending HLS, they expanded and further developed their theoretical framework of activism and structural social change. While at HLS, Evelyn enrolled in the Immigration and Refugee Clinic, where they represented clients in asylum proceedings. They also spent their summer after their second year in Yangon, Myanmar working on rule of law challenges. During their time in both the Immigration and Refugee Clinic and in Yangon, they noted overarching patterns of human rights violations and economic development where vulnerable communities were forced to bear the environmental and social costs of extractives-led development (mining, natural gas, oil, etc.), the benefits of which largely circumvented these same communities and went to major metropolitan areas or even other countries. Evelyn seeks to place empowerment and agency back in these communities so that they may fully advocate for their own interests in their work.