What do I do when I’m not practicing law at DCLG?
I love being engaged in my community through various volunteer activities. This includes the PTSA at my kid’s school, advocating for immigrant children with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), and helping out at Reel Grrls, a video production organization for girls I co-founded in 2000.
What is a community organization that inspires me?
I want to highlight a new passion of mine. A couple of years ago, I became involved with an international scouting organization called the Baden Powell Service Association (BPSA). Like the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, BPSA empowers youth through traditional scouting (you know, tying knots, starting fires, badges, backpacking, etc.). But what distinguishes BPSA is that it has always been open to everyone – which I love! So boys and girls scout together and there is even an adult program. It doesn’t matter if you are gay, straight, trans, or what your cultural or racial background is – BPSA is about bringing everyone together to learn about traditional scouting. And the NW is a great place to scout!
The local troop I volunteer for actually started out as a Boy Scouts troop in 2014, but when its scoutmaster publicly announced he was gay during a media interview, he was kicked out by the Boy Scouts of America.
This left a group of children and their parents to decide if they would carry on without their leader. Stay with the boy scouts or stay with their scoutmaster? Many of the families in the troop were refugees from other countries and while they may not have understood all the politics and policies around the decision to oust their leader – they very clearly understood what it meant to be excluded from a place you thought you belonged. With that, most of the kids stood by their scoutmaster and as a result were stripped of their Boy Scouts uniforms and badges. They went searching for a place they were all accepted… which was BPSA! They opened the first BPSA chapter in Seattle. The ousted scoutmaster, a former eagle scout, Geoff McGrath, was honored by Lambda Legal, an organization that is committed to the civil rights of LGBTQ people.
Today, the BPSA troop has grown from small group of boys that stood with their scoutmaster to 145 girls, boys, and adults. It has expanded from one neighborhood troop in Seattle to four in the region – Rainier Beach, West Seattle, Ballard and Lynnwood. A year after the scoutmaster was ousted, the Boy Scouts changed its policy and stopped banning gay leaders and we believe this group may have contributed to changing that tide! I am serving my second year as my neighborhood BPSA Board President and am so honored to be part of such an amazing organization!
What makes me passionate about family law?
Click on the video to hear more from me and what inspires me in my law practice at DCLG.