Where are you from, and why there?
I’m from Menomonie, Wisconsin. My ancestors immigrated to the United States from Norway and Scotland and eventually my family settled in Wisconsin.
Which issue(s) do you work on/care about, and why?
I am passionate about human rights because I believe in the inherent dignity and equality of each human being and the obligation of governments to protect those rights.
How did you get involved?
I experienced first-hand the plight of refugees and displaced persons in Central America in the early 1990s, which planted a seed that eventually grew and led me to pursue human rights law and to advocate for the rights of refugees, immigrants, victims of violence and human trafficking.
What’s the biggest challenge for the issue(s) today?
Despite international and national laws to protect human rights, governments continue to violate those human rights and to operate with impunity.
Who are your most frequent allies? Any surprises?
Allies include foreign governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
What drives you?
My passion for human rights drives me, as does seeing human rights defenders who risk their lives to put the needs of others first.
What do you want your career/advocacy to stand for?
I would like my career to be one of standing up for human rights and being a voice for those whose voices have been silenced by their own governments, so that those governments take steps to protect their rights.
The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily those of her agency or the U.S. Government.