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Naomi Neuman – our new intern!

Hi there! My name is Naomi Neuman. I am originally from the South Bay area, born and raised in Torrance. I recently graduated from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) with a degree in Political Science and minor in Health Science. I decided to study these two areas in combination, because I am very interested in the relationship between policy and health, specifically at how policy can be utilized to improve people’s physical and mental well-being.


Naomi Neuman headshot
Naomi Neuman

I decided to intern with iACT, because I am very interested in refugee and immigration issues. I have worked in Israel with asylum seekers, many of whom fled from Darfur, and found it be a very impactful experience. I specifically worked with children of asylum seekers and also visited male asylum seekers in detention. The Israeli government has not yet granted most of these asylum seekers refugee status, furthermore denying many of them any sort of legal status, which means that they are not entitled to welfare or medical services. As a result, I observed how many asylum seekers struggle with otherwise treatable conditions, such as lower respiratory issues and undernourishment, and also suffer from severe mental and emotional trauma.


There are certain images and memories of asylum seekers I worked with that I cannot let go of and that I must ACT upon. One of my memories is learning of an eight-year-old boy, the son of Nigerian asylum seekers, whose entire family was deported suddenly in one day, leaving him in the care of family friends. Another memory I vividly recall is of speaking with a detained male asylum seeker from Eritrea, so thin and emotionally beaten, who cried telling me the Israeli government would not let him see his baby boy in Tel Aviv. These are just two of my many memories there that have shaped my resolve to advocate for refugees.


While in Israel, I promised members of the asylum seeker community that I would continue to advocate for them. I am interning with iACT to uphold this promise. I am hoping to learn about concrete ways to aid asylum seekers with their physical needs, as well as their mental and emotional struggles. I love iACT’s empathy curriculum and the organization’s focus on empowering refugees and building resilience. I expect to learn a lot from this wonderful organization this summer.


As far as future plans go, I am moving to D.C. in late August to do post-graduate service for a year. I will be working in a legal clinic assisting people with public benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and disability benefits. Past this experience, I cannot definitively say what my plans are, but I certainly hope to be involved with refugee advocacy for years to come.


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