Getting to know Yvette
What’s your background?
I’m originally from east of the river in South Dakota. I became a lawyer because of a combination of civil and human rights advocacy on both sides of my family and because of adversity my family faced while living in South Dakota. I knew the law was an effective tool both as a shield and a sword.
In part, I wanted to become a lawyer to protect others from feeling defenseless in the face of whatever legal challenges they might be facing. The individuals I wanted to help the most were those whose sexuality was somehow used against them. I have always been a proponent of the rights of sex workers and interested in creative ways to help them live self-determined lives that are free from violence. Attending law school in DC and becoming involved with Amara from the very beginning has placed me in a unique position to advocate alongside sex workers, survivors of trafficking and allies.
What is your role at Amara?
My role is that of a Virginia and DC attorney and director of policy and strategic partnerships. This means that I take cases, engage in legislative advocacy; participate in coalitions focused on sex work, sex trafficking, domestic and sexual violence, and criminal justice reform; discuss issues that impact our clients with government agencies and nonprofit partners; and more.
How long have you worked at Amara?
I volunteered with Amara beginning in 2013. I joined Amara as the first staff attorney in May 2016.
What’s your favorite part about working at Amara?
It is hard for me to choose a favorite. I enjoy the freedom. Stacie encourages us to own our parts in the organization. I have the freedom to be creative and think outside the box. We are also very supportive of one another and make time to talk about a tough case or a client’s victory.
What other causes besides people’s rights being violated during commercial sex are you passionate about?
I’m also passionate about not criminalizing minors who “sext” with one another, protecting individuals harmed by “revenge porn” and 4th Amendment rights, especially with advances in technology.
Outside of the law, I have a lot of interest in reading about parallel universes. I always say that I would have become a theoretical physicist if I weren’t a lawyer. I’m sure there’s an alternate universe where I’m living that dream.
What’s your favorite part about working/living in DC?
The people watching. People take things so seriously here. It’s so interesting to people watch and see how excitable and serious everyone is on any given day. Then for Halloween, it’s fun to move that people watching to Georgetown. I’ve never lived anywhere where such serious people are so dedicated to dressing up.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
Read, bake, walk, play video games and play with my dogs.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
I would travel to Egypt and Ireland. I’ve always felt a particular connection to those countries and I’ve never been to either.