Class of 2014
B.A., Political Science and Government
Evergreen State College
For years, Yasmin Christopher just wanted to forget her past. Today, as a law student, she’s letting it shape her future.
When she was 4 years old, Christopher and eight members of her family were brought to the United States from Bangladesh by her American father, who then confined them to a 45-acre farm on the Olympic Peninsula. The adults and older children were forced to work from sunrise to sunset. There was no indoor plumbing and very little heat. Yasmin and her baby sister were spared from her father’s abuse, but the others were terrorized physically, sexually, and mentally.
Thanks to the diligence of a Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office detective, Christopher’s father was arrested and her family freed after a little more than a year of captivity. Now she’s combining her personal story with her legal education to become a powerful advocate of immigration reform and a crusader against human trafficking.
"When you see a survivor of abuse talking, you only see a victim," she said. "A law degree provides people with a different perspective when I speak. I have had the opportunity to make connections in my story to real disparities in our legal system."
As a 1L, Christopher kept her nose in her law books and tried to focus solely on her classes. Her 2L year, however, saw a blossoming of her legal advocacy work. She has served as a volunteer paralegal at the immigrants' rights group OneAmerica, moderated a panel discussion on human trafficking at the law school, and traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in a massive Advocacy Day for immigration reform, specifically targeting rights for immigrant women.
She also went public with her personal story as a spokesperson for Seattle and King County’s anti-trafficking public awareness campaign and was featured in a high-profile story in the Seattle Times.
Along the way, Seattle University School of Law has been there for her. "I had no idea I would feel as supported and encouraged by professors and other students as I have been," she said.
Christopher hopes that eventually the details of her personal life will be less important than her legal work. "My goal is to be a professional and a powerful advocate. I want to work with the law to make the situation better for immigrants," she said. "I never wanted to be the face of anything."