Welcome IDAP Summer Externs, Shira and Ruby!

It is our pleasure to introduce Disability Law United’s summer externs on the Immigration Detention Accountability Project, Shira Hereld and Ruby Ritchin!

Photograph of Shira, a person with light skin and long dark hair. They are smiling and wearing a blue shirt. Only their head and shoulders are visible. The background is blurry.

Shira is a rising 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. A former Denver resident, they have worked as an organizer, editor, wilderness therapy guide, and tutor across Colorado. In law school, they have advocated for young people prosecuted in the adult court system through the pro bono Youth Advocacy Project, providing mitigation and reentry support. They are a board member of Penn Law Lambda and the Trans Empowerment and Advocacy Project.

They have worked with homeless populations for over six years, including providing trauma-informed care for people in shelter at the Dolores Project from 2018 to 2020. They have also helped to provide support for immigrants released from the Aurora ICE detention center, volunteering with Casa de Paz in Denver. They are passionate about working in solidarity with marginalized communities, especially at the intersections of prisoner rights, disability justice, anti-racism, and housing justice.

They are a graduate of the George Washington University Honors Program, where they earned degrees in Political Science and Theater. They speak Spanish and are learning ASL, Chinese, and Hebrew.

Shira says, “I am thrilled to join IDAP this summer. There has rarely been a more vital time to engage in this important work, and I am so grateful to join such a brilliant, innovative, and collaborative team.”

Shira is also the Founder and Lead Organizer of Replace Denver BSL, a grassroots community organization that successfully overturned Denver’s 30-year-long pitbull ban. Meet Shira’s adorable pit, Merry, below!

Photograph of Ruby. Ruby is a light skinned person with long dark hair. She is wearing a navy blazer with a pale blue shirt underneath. She is smiling and standing in front of a wall of green trees.

Ruby is a rising 3L at Harvard Law School, where she served as an Editor on the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review Journal this year. In the spring, she participated in the Child Advocacy Clinic where she externed with an impact litigation organization working to support children involved in foster care and juvenile detention. She is also beginning work as a research assistant this summer working on immigration detention research.

Of working at Disability Law United, Ruby says, “I’m so excited to support this essential work and to learn from talented advocates at the same time.” Ruby has three years of immigration policy and advocacy experience, having worked with the National Immigration Forum to mobilize networks of people to advocate for immigrants and immigration reform prior to law school.

Ruby was a 2020 Summer Law Clerk for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, where she supported clients experiencing housing instability, including clients with disabilities. Previously, she worked directly with refugee communities, helping them to resettle in New York.

Recently, Ruby has been working her way through cookbooks one recipe at a time! In addition to working at Disability Law United, she plans to spend the summer improving her Spanish and hanging out with family dog Dobby.

Merry is a brown pitbull dog. She is sitting in the back of a car wearing a harness for a leash and is smiling.

Merry is a spokesdog for ending Denver’s pitbull ban, and is a champion for civil rights across species.

Dobby is a shaggy white dog. He is lying down on a lawn with trees behind him.

Dobby is celebrating his 13th birthday today, May 25!