First Week Post: The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Week one of my internship at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) has concluded, and so far, my experience has been stellar.

Before elaborating about my experience thus far, I will highlight MCAD’s mission and my role this summer.

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is a government agency dedicated to eliminating and preventing discrimination, and educating citizens of the Commonwealth regarding their rights and duties under anti-discrimination statues (MCAD website). If individuals feel as if they have been wrongfully discriminated against, they can file a complaint through MCAD. Within MCAD, I am working as a SEED Outreach Intern; essentially, I contact organizations that serve individuals that are likely to experience discrimination and ask if MCAD can host a presentation at their organization. My colleague and I then conduct the presentation which runs from one to two hours and goes over the protections that people have against discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing.

My first four days kicked off with training for all the interns, aimed at teaching us the relevant aspects of Massachusetts law (151B).  The training was an illuminating experience.  I did not know the protections against discrimination were so expansive or that Massachusetts has become a leading state in the fight against discrimination – which I elaborate more on in my next blog post.

So far, my experience as an MCAD intern has exceeded my expectations. The work is very engaging, and my supervisor has done a great job of training us and preparing us for the work that we will be doing this summer. She also does a wonderful job of fostering a healthy work environment and building a strong sense of team among all the outreach interns. We have the opportunity to attend “brown bag lunches,” where staff members at  MCAD talk about certain topics over lunch. The first session discussed disability discrimination and was led by a subject matter expert who gave insights about the daily workings on an array of issues. In additions to structured trainings and talks, we are also given the opportunity to observe proceedings at MCAD. I have already had a chance to observed a conciliation hearing which gave me a chance to experience the law in a more practical setting.

The bulk of our outreach presentations are scheduled for July, so right now my biggest efforts are focused on outreach so I can schedule presentations with organizations.  In my next post, I look forward to providing more updates – including details on my experiences on the presentations.

All in all, I am very excited to be working here and I am off to a great start!

 

– Si Chan ’16

 

 

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