Chapter 6. An American Privilege: Being a Voice for the Voiceless

One of the recent highlights of my life came in 2004, when a White House staffer called my office early in the day. To my surprise and delight, President George W. Bush was inviting me to serve on the Human Rights Commission that would be convening in Geneva, Switzerland, during March and April of that year.

For six weeks I was the only female U.S. delegate in attendance, sharing the stage with heroes and notable American figures. I was there with others like Louis Zuniga, a man who bravely opposed Castro's regime in Cuba and was repaid with 16 years in prison—13 of which were spent in solitary confinement. I met dignitaries, ambassadors, assistants to presidents, law professors, and Vietnam vets. It was a life-changing trip that continues to impact me deeply to this day.

The first time we walked into the giant oval embassy hall at The Palais des Nations, I felt as though I were Jonah being swallowed up by the whale—so small and overwhelmed by the size and history of this space. What an honor it was simply to be there! Making our way through aisles of connected tables and padded chairs, we approached the place where the U.S. delegates would be positioned. In front of each seat was a placard with the name of the country represented. It was a larger-than-life moment, so I sat down and took it all in. How proud I was to be a representative of the United States of America!

Moments later, as bodies began to stream into the ...

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