Michelle Human gave up a good position with CNN to come to law school.
“The reason that I did that,” she says, “is because coming from a journalistic background, my boss always quoted Mr. Rogers: ‘Always look for the helpers.’ When you're doing hard news stories and people are dying, car accidents and war and all of these horrible things that we see in the news every day, he said ‘look for the people that are helping because that will keep you sane. If there's a car accident, look for the police officer or the fireman that's helping the little girl get out from the wreckage.’ So I would always look for the helpers when I was on the scene of hard news, and one of the helpers that I always saw that sometimes goes unnoticed is a lawyer. I think that good lawyers in a lot of ways are like fairy godmothers. They really have the power to make a difference, for example, lawyers that work with children placing them in orphanages or adoption processes and refugees. They have the power and the education to make people's wishes come true.”
Human spent Winter Break this year in Israel, where she had the opportunity to do some reporting. “This picture is from the Golan Heights two days after the UN backed the cease fire in Syria that was brokered by Russia and Turkey. The already fragile cease fire was de jure, not de facto. Where I'm standing is not too far from the Barrada Valley, where pro-government forces in Syria continued to pound civilians with air strikes... It was also the morning after the terrorist attack in Istanbul. An Israeli was among those killed, and the government made it its first priority to get her body back so that she may be buried properly in Israel.”
Regarding fairy godmothers: Human was cheer captain for the University of San Diego Cheer & Stunt Athletic Team when someone tagged her in a Facebook ad for Happily Ever Laughter, a children’s party service that offers “Whimsical Childcare by our charismatic performers for events all across California.” She decided to audition, rocked it, and got the gig. Learning to twist balloons and face-paint was “surprisingly difficult,” she says, but what’s really made the work meaningful—and ultimately inspired her to get a JD and want to help people—have been the stories of the children themselves.
Now she’s a 1L at UC Hastings and still finds time to go to children's birthday parties, special events, children's hospitals, and volunteers with autism groups.
Human’s character’s name is Miss Honey, “Miss Honey N Wonderland” in full, and she’s a 943-year-old fairy with a message. “I like to talk about how I don't have a prince,” she says, “so that little girls know that they can be their own hero and they can be a princess with or without prince charming. I think that a lot of little girls, like I did, grow up watching the Disney princess movies and see that true love is the answer to everything, having a prince, you can sleep in a castle your whole life and still be someone, a role model because prince charming saved you, right?”
“My appearance and costumes and the glitter, they get me in the door,” she says. “Once I'm in the door, I'm always presented with opportunities to talk to people about sensitive topics and sometimes shape the way that they think or feel about things. Every day when I'm a fairy, children confide in me about how their parents are going through a divorce, or how Daddy hit Mom, or how Mommy's coming home drunk, or they can't put food on the table. On the surface, I can provide advice and kindness, and that can help them on some level, but I always think that one day when I have a Juris Doctor, I'll be able to make a more tangible difference in their lives. So every day when I'm a fairy, I'm always inspired to continue working hard in law school and to make that dream of helping people a reality.”
One encounter with a seven-year-old girl she met at World Refugee Day this past year stood out for Human. “So, I grant wishes and I give people pixie dust on their face and then I say okay blow the rest of this off my finger and make your wish. This little girl looked at me and she said, ‘you're a flower fairy right?’ I said, ‘Yes, I'm a flower fairy.’ She said, ‘okay I have a wish, I wish that the garden in front of my house in Syria, I wish that the flowers could grow there again because right now there's fire and the ground is ash. I wish that we lived in a world where,’ this is a seven-year-old saying this, ‘I wish that we lived in a world where there's no bombs or bullets or fires, and that the earth was reminded how to grow flowers again.’
“I want to go into children's advocacy or human rights law,” says Human. “I think that sometimes the legal profession lacks the genuine kindness and warmness and empathy and patience that I have to learn every day that I'm a fairy. Once I get through law school and pass the bar and have that JD, I'm not going to forget those values that I've learned. I'm going to keep those in my mind every time I meet with a client, and every time I'm faced with an obstacle or a nasty opposing counsel, I'm going to remember.”
“There are moments when I feel helpless, like there's nothing I can actually do to make flowers grow in Syria again amidst the civil war. Except for spread encouraging words and kindness. Then there's also moments where I get really positive feedback and it makes me really happy.”
“Kids don't know hate,” she says. “We teach hate, and we taught the world how to be racist as it is today. Everyday I hope that I can just counter that and make sure that the children that I meet don't know hate and don't know prejudice. Yeah.”
Yeah. Any advice from Miss Honey on how we should go forward in 2017?
“I would say keep your chin up buttercup and look to the sky, even if it rains create your own sunshine. That way, all of your days will be sweet like honey.”