Loving and Serving from the Meta to the Mundane
A version of this article appears in the spring 2019 issue of STILLPOINT magazine under the title “Vocation as: Freedom.”
Before she moved to New Delhi, India, Alice (Anderson) Bohn ’12, J.D., wasn’t yet acutely aware of the systemic significance of things like stop signs and speeding limits.
But after 18 months in “a country where public justice systems are broken, where wealth has a parallel relationship with security,” she began to see how the seemingly universal, expected things “like people stopping at stop signs and sticking to speeding limits shows that something is working,” she says.
“I know our justice system in the U.S. is not at all perfect, but there was something really powerful about living in a place where people don’t trust the law and they don’t trust police,” she says.
From the meta level to the mundane details, an operative legal system has the power to effect change for good. It’s why Bohn worked to improve laws around bonded labor during her stint with International Justice Mission in India. And it’s why she decided to return to the U.S., earn a law degree and move into immigration law.
“I just became convinced that the legal system is something I wanted to be a part of in some way,” she says. Now Bohn works as a contract attorney for the Cambridge, MA,-based immigration law firm Rubin Pomerleau, one of the only New England law firms to ever appear before the United States Supreme Court on an immigration case. She’s a researcher, writer and advocate for those who have been impacted by fractured legal systems around the globe.
“I cannot begin to identify with how difficult it is for people to uproot their lives and resettle in new places for somebody moving to another country who maybe doesn’t speak the language, or who doesn’t know anybody, or who didn’t want to leave their home country in the first place.”
Outside of her day-to-day work, Bohn is brushing up on her Spanish skills to better connect with her clients. She’s also volunteering in a conversational English class to meet people in her community—mainly native Mandarin, Japanese and Taiwanese speakers—and help them feel settled and welcomed, whether they planned to be here or not.
“I think it’s really important for people not to hate the places they resettle,” she says. “Especially in light of the movement of refugees, it’s really important that we continue to figure out how to live well together.”
Bohn’s interest in this sort of cross-cultural co-habitation began during her semester abroad at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. In her Migration and Cultural Conflict course, she investigated the opportunities and challenges that arise when people from different countries come to live together.
“We are called to fully revel in the love of Christ and to love the people around us,” she says, because “the gospel is for everyone, regardless of your circumstance.”