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In 2016, landmark civil rights legislation called the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights was signed into federal law as a model for states to follow. It’s the first time the term “sexual assault survivor” has appeared in federal code.
The bill’s creator, Amanda Nguyen, was 24 at the time.
Nguyen was raped when she was a student at Harvard University, and after confronting serious obstacles within the Massachusetts criminal justice system, decided to push for reform.
“I realized that I had a choice. I could accept the injustice or rewrite the law. And so I rewrote it,” Nguyen told Forbes.
In 2014, she founded Rise — a nonprofit that advocates for sexual assault survivors — and set the new bill in motion. Now, the organization is pushing for all 50 states to pass a version of the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights.
Nguyen is also expanding her vision with a new initiative called Rise Justice Labs. It’s an accelerator program for civil rights activists that provides coaching, mentoring and access to lobbyists and lawmakers. The accelerator’s very first cohort includes Parkland student activists. It will focus its attention on drafting and introducing legislation around gun violence prevention.
And she’s been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, in honor of her civil rights trailblazing.
We talk with Nguyen about the road to activism.
Show produced by Stacia Brown. Text by Kathryn Fink.
- Amanda Nguyen Founder and CEO, Rise; @nguyen_amanda
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