Jensen Enterman

Entemann, Jensen - Hesburgh Democracy Fellows

"I am keenly interested in the way that unethical, undemocratic institutions allow human rights abuses and corruption to fester. To me, being a champion of democracy means defending the civil and human rights of both your friends and your enemies."

Jensen Enterman is a junior studying economics and global affairs, with a minor in philosophy. Jensen has championed democracy as an intern with Our Climate, and through work with the Student Policy Network and Professor Thomas Kellenberg's Global Magnitsky Act Clinic. 

What is your personal interest in engaging issues related to American democracy? And what does being a "champion of democracy" mean to you?

Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and then moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado, I experienced living in two cities that were complete opposites, demographically and politically. But regardless of whether or not I agreed with another’s political affiliation, I was taught to care for everyone and always hear others’ perspectives before asserting my own position. Now, as a junior at Notre Dame, I am keenly interested in the way that unethical, undemocratic institutions allow human rights abuses and corruption to fester. To me, being a champion of democracy means defending the civil and human rights of both your friends and your enemies. Although American politics has been riddled with polarization in recent years, I am grateful that democracy gives us the opportunity to have these debates at all.

Tell us a bit about your experience working as an intern witih Our Climate. How did this experience shape your understanding of democracy and what it means to champion it?

Witnessing the devastation caused by Colorado’s Waldo Canyon Fire in 2013 motivated me to do what I can to protect the environment. Environmental degradation is intrinsically linked to democracy because our civil liberties will become more necessary to protect, as water becomes scarcer and natural disasters increase in frequency. Last Summer, I was able to intern with Our Climate, an organization that empowers young people to advocate for science-based, equitable climate justice policies. I mainly engaged with past climate leaders of Our Climate to hear what they are currently doing to fight climate change, and re-engage them with a mentorship program for young environmental activists. By attending weekly meetings with staff and connecting with these alumni, I was able to learn how the climate justice movement is based on the principles of democracy: all people deserve the right to clean air, purified water, and a healthy environment.

How have you championed democracy during your time at Notre Dame?

I have been fortunate to be a part of a number of projects that focus on the preservation of civil and human rights with Professor Kellenberg from the Washington Program and through Student Policy Network. During my freshman year, I took a Winter class with Professor Kellenberg called “The Global Magnitsky Act Clinic,” which taught us how to research and draft a sanction request against powerful foreign individuals who have committed major acts of corruption in their respective countries. In total, I have led and been a part of drafting and sending three different Global Magnitsky Act dossiers to the U.S. State and Treasury Departments. In preservation of the freedom of speech, I conducted background research on a case of Vietnamese arbitrary detention that was published and found in violation of international law by the UN Working Group. I am now leading a team through Student Policy Network to write and submit an amicus brief to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a murdered transgender teen, Dwayne Jones, that details instances of police and community violence against LGBTQ+ individuals in Jamaica. In order to move the IACHR’s process forward, our group has worked with other international NGOs, law firms, and renowned collegiate human rights clinics to also submit amicus briefs for Dwayne Jones.

Do you have a favorite course/book that you found helpful for thinking about democracy - either in the US or abroad? 

The books that have helped me the most in understanding democracy are Common Sense by Thomas Paine and Black Reconstruction by W.E.B. Du Bois. Recognized as a major spark for the United States’ independence from Great Britain, Paine argues that men are created equal and the government should work to protect our inherent rights. While the founders of the United States were able to conceive of a “free” society run by its people, it was not actually built to benefit all people equally. Black Reconstruction characterizes the continual struggle for democracy by those who have suffered under extreme oppression. By detailing the enslaved person’s hard-fought pursuit of freedom and continual fight for equal treatment, Du Bois shows the potential of democracy to promote equality and justice and the ways that democracy can be subverted by oppressive forces such as racism. 

Who is a public leader or historical figure that you admire, or would consider a model 'champion of democracy'? 

I would consider Susan B. Anthony to be a champion of democracy because of the pivotal role she played in women’s suffrage in the United States and her fight for the equal treatment of other oppressed groups. After attending the Seneca Falls Woman's Rights convention, Anthony traveled around the country giving speeches for women’s right to vote, gathered thousands of signatures on petitions, lobbied congress, and created the National Suffrage Association. Hearing the speeches of William Lloyd Garrison and Fredrick Douglass, Anthony was motivated to become an activist for abolition and also gave impassioned speeches against slavery. Her resiliency is inspiring and she is a true example of someone who believes in the inherent equality of all people.

To learn more about the Hesburgh Democracy Fellows, ND Democracy Talks, the Washington Program, and other opportunities to engage the work of the Rooney Center and Hesburgh Program, visit