Recent graduate Alexis Bay, an active participant in Miami Law’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center, was selected to receive the highly competitive Justice Catalyst Fellowship, a project-based post-grad fellowship that funds ground-breaking social justice advocacy projects. Beginning this fall, Bay will begin her fellowship with the Texas Civil Rights Project located in Alamo, Texas. As a full-time Justice Catalyst Fellow, Bay will take on the critical task of holding Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and local police departments accountable for abuses of immigrants in and out of detention along the Mexico-Texas border.
Bay came to Miami Law after spending several years as a community organizer in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Prior to law school, Bay served as an advocate for reproductive justice, LGBTQ+, immigrant, and environmental issues. Bay chose to attend Miami Law because of its many clinic options and on-campus resources for students who are interested in civil and human rights.
“I began to see how the law played a massive role and how it affected my community, especially living on the border. I decided to go to law school to gain the ability to navigate the law to better assist my community and others like it, and to be a tool for organizers and activists.”
Bay took full advantage of all the opportunities available to her in law school.
Bay was selected as a HOPE Fellow her 1L summer, working at the Texas Civil Rights Project in Alamo, Texas and then again during her 2L summer working at the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration in Washington, D.C. Bay participated in the Human Rights Clinic as a 2L and served as a Research Fellow in the Clinic in her third year. She was also in the Immigration Clinic this year.
Bay was actively engaged in student organizations on campus as well, serving as the Advocacy Co-Chair on the Public Interest Leadership Board, the President of If/When/How UM, as well as a member of Society of Bar & Gavel, National Lawyers Guild UM and OUTlaw.
While reflecting on her most meaningful experiences at Miami Law that helped provide her with the skills to secure this fellowship, Bay said, “Miami Law, first and foremost through the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center, has given me the ability to fund life-changing fellowships both my summers in law school. Without that funding, I would have never been able to do the work I did. I also gained irreplaceable experience from both the Human Rights and Immigration clinics, especially the Time's Up Project that took me out of the law school and into different parts of Miami-Dade County, working alongside community advocates. Of course, nothing beats having experience with real clients and I have had many in the Immigration Clinic.”
Bay was thrilled to receive this coveted fellowship that will enable her to fulfill her dream of becoming an immigrant advocate in her hometown.
“It will be good to be home again with my mom and abuela (grandmother) who are very excited for me to be a lawyer. My friends are also quite excited for me,” said Bay. “I will be able to bring more legal capacity to my community and a new perspective. I hope to make the law more accessible to my community and hope to be useful to those who are already doing amazing advocacy work in the region.”
Bay is even more excited to be able to begin her new career as part of this supportive fellowship program.
“Justice Catalyst is a new, innovative fellowship that offers funding for those who wish to be creative in their work and they are very open to many different ideas of what advocacy looks like,” said Bay. “The impression I have, so far, is that they are very personal in the way they interact with fellows. I haven't started my fellowship yet, but I already feel so supported by Justice Catalyst.”
“We are so proud of Alexis and fortunate to have her as a part of our vibrant and determined public interest community,” said Marni Lennon, Assistant Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono. “She will be an exceptional advocate in Texas and we are thrilled that she has secured the Justice Catalyst Fellowship.”