I was sitting at my desk at Prisoner Legal Services when I received the phone call. The woman on the other end was a lawyer friend. After some small talk, she got to her reason for calling: “Cindy, I was talking with the Director of the North Carolina Resource Center the other day and recommended you for a staff position there.”
I was familiar with this state agency. I had worked a few hours at the Resource Center in law school, doing some research for the Director. It was a very small office, but according to Susan, they were expanding. They also had a new Director, Henderson Hill, who had come to North Carolina via the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C.
I was flattered, very flattered, that Susan would think of me. She was a well-respected federal public defender. I had met her when I was clerking for Federal Magistrate Judge Alexander Denson. I had wanted to work for her office, but they were not hiring at the time.
“I’m not really looking for a job,” I replied. I had been at PLS for less than nine months. I represented inmates, not on death row, with their post-conviction appeals and with claims against the prison system, a good job for someone like myself, just out of law school. Susan made the potential of the new expanded Resource Center sound exciting. “I will definitely consider applying,” I said at the end of our conversation.
I cannot remember how I found out more about the open position at the Resource Center. How did we do such things before the internet? In any case, the more I learned about the position and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. I applied and the rest, as they say, is history. Or maybe it should be herstory? I actively represented inmates on North Carolina’s death row for thirteen years and have continued to be active in death work. All this herstory from one phone call, one connection. I am very, very fortunate.