Meet the Commissioners
Jessica Andrade has been interested in human rights, politics, and public service since her adolescence in Clark County, Washington. Jessica attended the University of Washington where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Women Studies, as well as a minor in history. Later, Jessica attended the University of Michigan where she obtained her J.D. Along the way, Jessica has had experiences working and volunteering for multiple human rights and public interest-focused organizations, including Blueprint Research & Design, a non-profit consulting firm, the Gender Advocacy Program in Cape Town, South Africa, Planned Parenthood of Western Washington, the King County Prosecutor's Office Protection Order Advocacy Program, and LegalVoice (f/k/a/ the Northwest Women's Law Center).
Currently Jessica is an associate in the litigation group of Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, where she focuses her practice on complex commercial disputes. Jessica also completes significant pro bono legal work, including representing several clients who have suffered abuse in their home countries in their petitions for asylum in the United States, as well as impact litigation regarding issues of LGBT rights, gender and race discrimination. Jessica was appointed to the Seattle Human Rights Commission by the Seattle City council in 2009, and she looks forward to serving the City of Seattle by advancing the human rights of all its citizens.
Katherine Beckett is Professor in the Law, Societies & Justice Program and the Department of Sociology, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, at the University of Washington in Seattle. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of Sociology and has written extensively about the politics of punishment and social control. She is the author of three books, including Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics (Oxford University Press, 1997) and, most recently, Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America (Oxford University Press 2010). She has also published numerous articles on a range of socio-legal topics such as mass incarceration, monetary sanctions, and racial disparities in drug law enforcement. She is currently studying policy efforts to reduce barriers to work and housing for people with criminal records and to lessen racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system.
Isabel Bussarakum is an Arthur Liman Public Interest Law Fellow at The Defender Association's Racial Disparity Project. She provides holistic legal services to participants of the newly launched pre-booking diversion pilot program, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD). Isabel graduated from Yale Law School in 2011. While in law school, she worked on criminal appeals through the New Haven Legal Assistance Clinic, and co-authored a report on garment workers' rights in Cambodia through the Allan K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. Prior to law school, Isabel graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University in 2007, and worked at the Equal Rights Center, a non-profit civil rights organization in Washington, D.C.
Nika Dahlbacka was born and raised in Oakland, California, a city which celebrates diversity and political activism. From her earliest years she pursued activities that furthered equality and multi-culturalism. In high school, she joined Amigos de las Americas, working in a village of 200 in Costa Rica to promote community-based, sustainable development.
At the UW, Nika was a senator in student government, and volunteered for Washington Citizen Action, First Place School, Franklin High School, and the Burke Museum. While at UW, Nika interned at Boeing where she implemented the first 737 Diversity Council. She graduated UW with distinction and a BA in International Business and marketing. After college, Nika continued her career with Boeing, and has enjoyed her role working as a Procurement agent with International Suppliers and the Flight Test Program.
Nika is honored to be pursuing her passion for social justice and equality as a member of the Seattle Human Rights Commission.
Alejandra Gonza received her law degree from the National University of Tucumán in her native Argentina and her Masters in European Studies and Human Rights from the Pontific University of Salamanca, Spain. Currently, she serves as a legal adviser to the Due Process of Law Foundation in Washington, DC. Ms. Gonza also represents victims of human rights violations before the Inter-American human rights system. Previously, she served as a senior staff attorney at the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (both of the Organization of American States).
David Lujano serves as a mentor to Latino youth at the Latino Equity Initiative. There, he collaborates with community leaders to address over criminalization of Latino youth and educates legislators and community members about the impact of gangs and violence and cost of incarceration on families. David also volunteers with the Post Prison Education Project, where he engages in tutoring and mentoring to help break the cycle of incarceration. David also participates in panels to raise awareness about the criminal justice system, speaks at UW Law classes to educate students about the impact of the criminal justice system, and encourages prisoners to participate in the Post Prison Education Program.
Marsha Teresa Mavunkel
Marsha Teresa Mavunkel is an associate attorney with Ketu Shah Law Offices in Bellevue, WA. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2009, and has been working primarily in immigration law since that time. Marsha has worked within the human rights realm both domestically and internationally. She has worked with human rights non-profits such as the World Organization Against Torture, and the International Rescue Committee during her years in undergraduate and law school. During law school Marsha worked with the Seattle University International Human Rights Law clinic, and assisted in drafting a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Right, as well as traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, as part of a Seattle University team to present an oral argument before the full panel of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Directly after graduating from law school Marsha worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in San Jose, Costa Rica. Marsha has been a Seattle resident for five years now, and has an ardent desire to work within her own local community in the human rights arena, helping community members and our local government with human rights initiatives and to spread awareness in order to inform and educate our city on human rights issues.
Michael Mitchell conducts research on tax and budget policy issues as a policy analyst with the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank focused on improving the economic security and prosperity of all in the state. Michael holds a Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Prior to obtaining his masters, Michael attended the University of Connecticut, earning degrees in Economics and Political Science, graduating with honors. Michael is grateful and humbled for the opportunity to serve his new city and joins the commission as part of the Metrocenter YMCAs Get Engaged Program. In his free time, you can find him floating in a kayak on Lake Union or checking out the poetry scene around town.
As a WSBA Governor, Catherine reinvigorated work on ethics rule prohibiting inquiry into immigration status in civil litigation; co-authored resolution denouncing Arizona's anti-immigration laws; co-sponsored resolution supporting adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; sponsored expansion of legal services delivery to the working poor through the "modest means" program; supported ACLU's request to endorse legislation restoring the voting fights of felons; and removed institutional barriers to bar leadership by women and minorities. While working as a Policy Advisor to Councilmember Conlin, Catherine contributed to the development of the Paid Sick and Safe Leave legislative proposal for City of Seattle. Catherine has served as Refugee Women's Alliance family law clinic volunteer, Northwest Women's Law Center legislative committee volunteer, and a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.
Andrea Negrete was born in Mexico and raised in Mattawa, an isolated town in Central Washington, where her parents worked as farm workers. Andrea graduated from the UW with a BA in Psychology. While at UW, she served as a Senator for the Graduate and Professional Student Senate and worked for the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity. Andrea Negrete is a candidate for the Master of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at UW, with a focus on higher education. She advocates for social justice and equal representation in higher education through her work with Campaña Quetzal, a Seattle nonprofit committed to working with Latino families in the Seattle Public Schools. Andrea is excited about joining the Commission as part of the Metrocenter YMCA's Get Engaged Program.
Since youth Martin has been passionate about linking people to each other and to ideas in ways which create an environment where the voices of the most marginalized are heard and respected. Following studies in international law and human rights Martin joined the work of securing those rights on the ground level. Martin's professional experience includes conflict resolution work in Israel and Palestine, minority rights research in France, operations and translation in public health in West Africa and microfinance in India and East Africa.
Greg Ramirez works as a Union Organizer for SEIU Local 6. He is committed to fighting for employee rights and to ensure that workers are treated with dignity, respect, and have equal access to livable wage jobs. He previously worked at YouthCare as a Job Developer/Employment Specialist where he focused on breaking down barriers to employment for homeless, disadvantaged and other marginalized youth. Greg was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and is a graduate of John F. Kennedy Memorial High School and Western Washington University. While at Western he studied Pre-Law / Law & Diversity at Fairhaven College. In addition, he has served on Sound Transit's Diversity Oversight and Project Labor Agreement Committee and Seattle Housing Authority's Section 3 Oversight and Advisory Committee. In his spare time he enjoys playing golfing and spending time with his wife, family and friends.
Chris Stearns is from the Navajo Nation and practices Native American law with Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker LLP. He helped co-found Native Vote Washington, a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to increase the size and power of the Native vote in Washington.
Chris has spent his career working in Native American public policy and has served as Indian Affairs Director under Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, Democratic Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources under Chairman George Miller, Deputy Counsel to the U.S. House Native American Affairs Subcommittee, North Dakota State Campaign Director for Vice President Al Gore, and Political Advisor to Tex Hall, President of the National Congress of American Indians.
Chris also has served on the Boards of the Clinton-Gore Alumni Association and the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Chris occasionally writes columns and articles for the newspaper Indian Country Today. Chris is a graduate of Williams College and Cornell Law School.
Christina Ygona holds a B.A. in Business Administration and B.S. in Communications from the UW. Christina most recently worked as an event coordinator at the World Affairs Council. Christina previously served as a Research Scholar with the U.S. Fulbright Program in the Philippines where she researched the community-based ecotourism industry. Christina was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic for three years. There, she developed educational courses, workshops, and camps for Dominican young adults and coordinated events. Christina looks forward to bringing her social media management, strategic planning, and workshop facilitation skills to the Commission.
Jennifer Yogi was born and raised in Seattle, and received her law degree from the University of Washington's School of Law in 2001. For the past ten years she has worked as a staff attorney with Northwest Justice Project, a nonprofit legal services organization providing free legal representation to low-income persons in Washington State. Ms. Yogi's work is focused on advocating for the rights of Native Americans in Federal, State and Tribal courts. In addition, for the last 9 years she has worked as a volunteer with the King County Bar Association's Neighborhood Legal Clinic in the International District, providing free legal consultations to members of the Asian and Asian-American communities in King County. Ms. Yogi has also served on the Board of Directors for the Unemployment Law Project for the last six years.
How To Get Involved
The Commission welcomes your interests and ideas. Individuals or organizations who want to introduce ideas may contact Felicia Yearwood at 206-684-4537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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