Lily Hopwood’s Justice Journalism

Santa Barbara Independent News Intern Jumps from Jail Justice to Homeless Helpers

Lily Hopwood | Credit: Courtesy

Born in London but raised in the Bay Area, Lily Hopwood studies history and sociology at UCSB, where she has also been director of fundraising for the Delta Gamma sorority. As a news intern for the Independent, Hopwood is tackling such diverse issues as state consumer protection laws, the indigenous Hawaiian movement, and Isla Vista Foot Patrol’s reluctance to wear masks. On page 31 of this week’s paper, Hopwood writes about Heath House, which is being renovated to sheath homeless women. She tells us more about herself here. 

Did living in London as a child have much influence on your life?  I moved to California when I was 3 years old. I remember it was hard to leave friends and family behind, but I don’t recall much about living in London. My accent is still slightly mixed, which I appreciate now but hated when I was younger as my classmates and even their parents would constantly ask me to say different words. I think I’m more assertive and independent as a result, as I had to learn how to stand up for myself and set boundaries relatively young.

What did you do in your role as a “jails intern” for the ACLU?  I responded to grievances reported by incarcerated persons and their family members regarding violations of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment in Los Angeles County jails. This work was fulfilling but frustrating, as I felt that in many cases my hands were tied — ameliorating the harms of mass incarceration is important, but real reform can only be achieved by completely dismantling the systemic issue.

What do you hope to do for your career?  I ultimately hope to combine advocacy and writing, but I’m not sure exactly how I’d like to do that. I’m planning on moving to the East Coast after I graduate in the spring and may apply to law school next fall.

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