Meet the Appignani Humanist Legal Center’s new Paralegal, Izzy Oldfield!
TheHumanist.com: What is your educational and work background?
I graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s degree in government and international politics and minors in French and legal studies. I then went on to complete an ABA-approved paralegal certificate at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies.
Prior to joining the American Humanist Association, I worked as a legal project assistant at a major construction litigation firm in Tysons, Virginia, where I assisted with cases that were very discovery intensive. I also interned as a junior paralegal at a boutique criminal defense and family law practice. Prior to that, I was an intern with the development team at the Fund for Global Human Rights during my Global Politics Fellowship at George Mason University.
TheHumanist.com: How did you first learn about humanism?
I was raised in an atheist household but wasn’t aware of humanism until college, where I met other students who identified as humanists through the Secular Student Alliance chapter. Since then, I’ve personally identified as a humanist, and I identify with the value-driven philosophy of humanism which seeks to make an impact on the larger community. I believe that each of us has the ability to remake ourselves for the better. Those of us with recognized privilege have an ethical obligation to devote our lives to the uplifting of other marginalized communities.
TheHumanist.com: Did you grow up in a traditional religious faith? How did it impact you?
No. My parents, although raised in religious households, are both nontheists and continue to be very supportive of my own mission to live a purpose-filled life without belief in a higher deity. I’m privileged to be able to pursue my social justice-driven passions with family support and I do not take that for granted.
TheHumanist.com: What interested you most about working for the American Humanist Association?
As a paralegal, my goal is to assist attorneys here with defending the civil liberties of the freethinking community. I am really lucky to be able to enter a career in line with my goal of working in the social justice field. I am super excited to be a part of the AHA and join other passionate individuals on a mission to be and do good without a god!
TheHumanist.com: What book has influenced you the most?
Definitely Frederick Douglas’s autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. I enjoyed his exploration of the way followers of Christianity have exploited religion to perpetuate social hierarchies and oppression. He writes, “I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me.” I am aware of injustices and aim to make as much of an impact as I can.
TheHumanist.com: If you could have dinner with any three people in the world (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Ta-Nehisi Coates. I think he is a brilliant advocate for the black community in America. Reading his works helps me commit to a life of trying to understand marginalized communities and what I can do as an ally.
Samantha Power. She has done amazing work in the world of international human rights. Her book, The Problem from Hell really left me thinking about the human rights atrocities taking place because of the human capacity for cruelty.
Finally, I would love to have dinner with Pierce Brosnan. I don’t have any particular questions for him. He could talk about anything and I would be completely spellbound.