I was born in an army hospital near Seoul, South Korea, to a Korean mother and Caucasian father. My grandmother never approved of my parents’ relationship because my mother was not white and English was her second language and one day threw my mother out of the house with only the clothes on her back. That day was the last time my brother and I saw our mother for 25 years.
This experience shaped me. It underscored for me the importance of advocacy for those who are marginalized. I know first-hand how easy it is to silence those who have been victimized when no one speaks up for them or their rights. This experience also taught me about forgiveness – that my grandmother, who loved and instilled in me independence and a strong work ethic, is more than the sum of her worst mistakes.
Some highlights of my career include:
- Securing funding for the PAO’s Crime Strategies “Shots Fired” Unit, which tracks shootings in King County;
- Creating and securing funding for a new Director of Victim Services position;
- Adding ten new victim advocate positions;
- Serving as a co-founding partner of Choose 180 (which first launched as “The 180 Program”);
- Launching the PAO’s high school intern program to build diversity and interest to the practice of law;
- Leading the PAO’s first review of all “Three Strikes” cases;
- Launching Family Intervention and Restorative Services “FIRS” (a juvenile domestic violence intervention)
- Building a diverse team of PAO leaders, deputy prosecutors, and staff
I am also honored to serve on the Board of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, and as an award-winning member of the Korean Prosecutors Association. I have also served on the Boards of Pioneer Human Services (a nonprofit focused on facilitating the successful reentry for individuals leaving prison and/or dealing with substance use or behavioral health issues) and the Beecher’s Foundation (a nonprofit dedicated to promoting food equity in all communities and operating a food education program for kids across the nation).
As an advisor for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) “Unbundle Policing” Solve Venture Lab Initiative, I support the initiative’s focus on improving public safety and policing in the United States. I was also a member of the Juvenile Prosecutor’s Leadership Network, (housed in Georgetown University’s Center For Juvenile Justice Reform) –a select group of experienced juvenile justice leaders, tasked with identifying emerging and innovative policies and practices to improve fairness and effectiveness within all realms of juvenile justice.
Through everything I do, I bring the perspective of my mother as an immigrant who was denied access to justice, my own experiences as an API kid growing up in Kentucky and woman of color pushing for reforms in the criminal justice system as a prosecutor, and now the experiences of my own kids coming of age amid gun violence, the opioid crisis, and urgent cries for racial justice.
Beyond my professional life, I live in West Seattle with my two teenage children and enjoy spending time with them and my significant other, Perry Tarrant, former President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).