November 2012 Bar Bulletin
SU Law Scholarships Promote Justice
By Katherine Hedland-Hansen
Seattle University School of Law is proud to introduce its 2012-13 Scholars for Justice. The law school gives two Scholars for Justice awards annually to students who have a proven commitment to working in the public interest before and after law school. It's just one of the ways Seattle University School of Law works to establish justice.
Born and raised in Seattle, Fish explored a variety of public service opportunities before deciding to pursue a career in law. In high school, she interned at Mount Zion Preparatory Academy, where she learned not only about persistent systemic barriers to education, but also how one community had created its own alternative institution to overcome these barriers that opened her eyes to the relationship between power, prejudice and poverty in the U.S.
She earned her B.A. in Public Policy and American Institutions from Brown University, where she worked with the Student Labor Alliance in support of workers organizing for fair pay and work standards. She interned with nonprofit organizations and government offices promoting access to healthcare, protection from domestic violence, stable housing and land rights. After graduation, she was an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer through Solid Ground's Martin Luther King, Jr. VISTA team.
"In all of these experiences, I was struck by how frequently a felony conviction proved to be an insurmountable barrier, based on a concern for public safety," she said. "I have seen how the system by which we classify people as felons has more to do with institutional racism and classism than with public safety."
Motivated to fight this injustice, she has worked for a public defender for the past two years. She will continue to work while earning her degree in the law school's Part-Time Program.
"Every day, I see the attorneys in my office help our clients assert their humanity in a system designed to label them only as dangerous or bad," Fish said. "In defending individuals, I see how attorneys also challenge rules, practices and policies to effect positive systemic change. I hope to follow in the footsteps of these lawyers, to stand up against a dehumanizing system and strive for actual justice."
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