Meet Audrianna Kelly, MRC Intern

Photo of the intern, Audrianna Kelly

My name is Audrianna Kelly. I was born and raised in New York City with Trinidadian, Antiguan, and Bajan heritage. I am a recent graduate of Trinity College with a B.A. in Anthropology and Political Science with a concentration in Political Theory. The first on my father’s side and the third woman on my mother’s to receive a college degree. 

My passion for providing legal services for immigrants fully began in Rome, Italy. During the Fall of 2019, I took a Migration course while studying abroad. It was both an eye-opening and transformative experience. Throughout the semester, my classmates and I visited refugee camps. We encountered many refugees and migrants who faced hostility, food and water scarcity, run-down infrastructure, and frankly no support from the European Union and its citizens. Arriving from North Africa, through Libya, and across the Mediterranean Sea, these asylum seekers dealt with a magnitude of traumatic experiences––i.e., violence, racism, exploitation, sexual abuse, imprisonment, etc. I was astonished to hear how difficult and dangerous it was to not only come to Europe but obtain legal status. Many lived in limbo, waiting on a single document to dictate whether they have successfully achieved their dreams for a better life or failed.

Listening to these testimonies prompted two decisions. One, recognizing and acknowledging the privileges I had as an American citizen, even though I am a woman of color. Two, utilizing my status to aid, advocate, and empower those who endured similar struggles and sacrifices my family underwent. I am eager to alleviate the physical, mental, and emotional hardships immigrants go through; and create a fairer and accessible gateway to citizenship.

I decided to work for a nonprofit because I am committed to making positive changes. I want to generate more awareness for immigrants and uphold their dignity and humanity. For centuries, the West’s perception of other communities has been vile and discriminatory. The [right-wing] media, in particular, has vilified those fleeing from domestic violence and economic hardship, negatively portraying them as criminals, untrustworthy, and threatening. I hope my work would debunk these misconceptions, showcasing the importance of cultural diversity and the similarities we all share as people.

After MRC, I plan to further my career in law. I am eager to earn my J.D. in immigration law, but I am not opposed to studying international law or human rights. Hopefully, my actions will protect the vulnerable and advocate for further equality.