Meet Stephanie Mistry! She is a devoted mom, a thorough attorney and a generous volunteer. She gives of her time graciously and her dedication to her HRI clients is legendary among our ranks. She has saved an Egyptian Christian who was hunted by radical Islamists, an Ethiopian doctor imprisoned for his political activism,and most recently client an African mother, MSM, who fled her country due to the threat of female genital mutilation, a brutal practice which a neighboring tribe wanted to impose upon her and shockingly, upon her infant daughter. (MSM, is a featured Art-Story for our RHYO2018 Concert & Art Auction.)
Stephanie, you inspire us with your professionalism, your dedication and most of all, your Heart. Thank you for your service in favor of the forsaken. Thank you for being a part of the HRI family.
How did you first hear about HRI?
About 9 years ago, after the birth of our second son, I was looking for an outlet for my volunteer legal work. I had a few requirements. I wanted to be able to work on my own schedule, on a project basis, while learning about other cultures and pursuing justice on behalf of the oppressed. Easy to find, right?! Actually, it took some searching because I had never heard of Human Rights Initiative until I was introduced to Bill Holston. It took about 5 minutes in that first coffee meeting for Bill to recognize that my desire to help people with my law degree and my love for biblical justice was a perfect match with asylum work. He told me to give it a try and from my very first case, I was hooked!
What is your driving force in volunteering with our agency?
I could say that my desire to help others is a driving force and that would be true. I could also say that I feel a duty to act on behalf of those who have been persecuted when it is in my power to do so…and that also would be 100% true. But, if I am honest with myself, the fuel that keeps me coming back is that I simply adore this work. I get to walk alongside amazing survivors, travel to other lands vicariously through my research, sharpen my legal skills, and realize with overwhelming gratitude afresh and anew that America, for all her imperfections, is still the most generous, liberty-loving land there is.
Please briefly share your case and success.
I’ve worked with a wide range of clients since I began. From an Egyptian Christian who was hunted by radical Islamists to an Ethiopian doctor imprisoned for his political activism, the cases have each captivated my heart and mind. My most recent client was a beautiful African woman who fled her country due to the threat of female genital mutilation, a brutal practice which a neighboring tribe wanted to impose upon her and shockingly, upon her infant daughter. Her refusal to submit to the tribal practice even after being beaten and unprotected by the police, meant that she had to leave her new husband and seek protection in our great country. Just this summer, after an arduous few years, she and her daughter were finally granted status as asylees. Amazing!
What is something you have learned from your experience with your client?
My clients have taught me that the most powerful thing in life is not what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you. I have found that these people who have reason to be the most bitter due to the very real persecution they have faced are actually the most grateful, humble, and un-offendable people I’ve ever met. They inspire me to choose my attitude thoughtfully!
Personal Fun Fact:
When I am not driving my boys around (ages 13, 9 and 3) to their endless activities, I enjoy working out and studying a wide variety of subjects from theology to Spanish. I adore reading more than just about anything!