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Angglelia Sutjipto

College: CUNY Baccalaureate Degree
Awards: Humanity in Action Fellowship, 2015

A Bias Beater

Angglelia (Angel) Sutjipto (CUNY baccalaureate, Genocide Studies, '13) will learn how other countries have dealt with discrimination and resistance with a 2015 Humanity in Action Fellowship.

She joins a select group of students and recent graduates from the United States and Europe. They will meet in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and Warsaw this summer for a monthlong exploration of countries with a history of discrimination against minority groups and the resistance that emerged. Humanity in Action, an international educational organization, seeks to nurture future leaders interested in remedying injustice.

Sutjipto was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, and migrated to the United States in 2003, at age 12. Shortly thereafter, her temporary visitor's visa expired and she became undocumented. When she got to CUNY, she was eligible for in-state tuition, but not federal or state tuition assistance. As a result, she babysat, tutored and applied for scholarships, while her mother worked as a cashier to pay for each semester's tuition fees. Sutjipto also asked professors to place textbooks on reserve in the library because she could not afford to buy them. "It was quite a struggle, even with CUNY's low tuition," she says.

In her sophomore year at Hunter College, she took a class that shifted her focus toward preventing genocide and mass atrocities. "It was a very special course which allowed me to work with Holocaust survivors," she says. "I appreciated being able to spend time with the survivors and learning first-hand about the Holocaust. One of them asked me if genocide could ever be prevented, and that question has stayed with me ever since."

Through the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, she crafted an individualized degree to explore that question. Her faculty mentor was political science professor John R. Wallach, founder and chair (2010-2013) of the Hunter College Human Rights Program. "I owe much to the CUNY B.A. program and professor Wallach for allowing me to explore the issue of genocide prevention on a much deeper and critical level."

Sutjipto's interest in genocide prevention led her to become the projects coordinator at Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights. The institute aims to strengthen laws, norms and institutions to prevent mass atrocities and increase human rights protection. Despite being undocumented, she is protected from deportation and can work under President Barack Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, an order that a future president may revoke.

During her free time, she volunteers as the communications coordinator for RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast), a pan-Asian, membership-led group of undocumented immigrants.

"Given my own lack of immigration status and interest in the genocide-prevention and human rights field, I would like to be able to combine these two issues because immigrant rights are human rights," she says. "I look forward to better understanding the immigrant rights' movement in Europe this summer through the Humanity in Action Fellowship."