The Things You Don’t Prepare For

I was set to speak on behalf of a client last night in a public hearing. I don’t do it often, but it’s part of my job, and a part that I have a record of success in. I was prepped with data, possible solutions and our requests, and just waiting for our agenda item to come up, which I expected would be about an hour into the meeting.

During the public comment portion a woman testified to her experience with sexual assault at a nearby corrections facility. She needed a translator, but I understood her without the translation. Other women spoke out about abuses at the facility and requested that action be taken since the evidence was mounting of the continuing abuses at this facility.

What I was there to speak about could not have been more different. It didn’t require much courage or any personal stake, it was on a property issue and not a human rights issue, and my job was to not engage with any of the community advocacy issues and stick to the issue in which I was representing my client. I was prepared to do my job. I was not prepared to do it following such brave women. May we all be that courageous.