Whether it was refusing to sing “Mr. Sun” in her second grade recital because she thought it was meaningless or showcasing her support for the LGBTQ community when it was taboo, Astrid Munn never had qualms with expressing her beliefs.
As a child, the grown-ups around her were well aware of her fearless personality and talent in writing, so she was encouraged at a young age to become an attorney. Munn considered other options and even received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009. However, she said it was easy to see her compatibility with the justice system, so, in 2010, she began her career studying law at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.
On Nov. 13, the Honors Student Advisory Board will hold an event titled “Eyewitness at the Mexican Border: Reflections by Attorney Astrid Munn” in the University Suites Multipurpose Room at 6:15 p.m. Munn will focus on her stories, what she learned and her main takeaways from her experiences with law at the Mexican border in Tijuana.
Working as an immigration attorney wasn’t Munn’s first choice. Throughout law school, she said she had a strong desire to work as a lawyer for Native American tribes, but in the end, she found her best fit.
“I really wanted to work as a tribal law lawyer, but I struggled to break into the field,” Munn said. “Ultimately, it was much easier for me to find work as an immigration attorney.”
Munn explains that one reason it was a smooth experience for her to be an immigration attorney is because she speaks fluent Spanish. Another reason is that she is the daughter of an immigrant and has become familiar with the immigrant experience.
Munn’s visit and speech is an exciting opportunity to hear the perspective of a legal expert and person witnessing the events taking place at the border, according to BaoLong Truong, a senior biochemistry major at UNL and the vice president of finance for the Honors Student Advisory Board
“As someone hailing from a family of immigrants from the Vietnam War,” he said, “I want to better understand current immigration in the United States and relate it to the challenges my family faced when coming to the U.S. in the past.”
According to Truong, the U.S. is currently in a politically charged atmosphere that results in political and racial biases. Truong emphasizes the idea that a lot of this turmoil is caused by misinformation, and he hopes this event can provide an opportunity to combat this issue.
“I see this event as an opportunity for people across the political spectrum to develop political tolerance, find common ground and move forward with an informed discussion regarding ideas for immigration policy,” he said.
Patrice McMahon, a previous professor of Munn’s and the director of the University Honors Program at UNL, invited her back to campus for the chance to talk to students about her experience. According to Munn, she has done countless presentations to immigrants but has less experience giving presentations to students.
“This is a new and exciting opportunity for me,” Munn said. “I am excited to shine light on issues that don't make the nightly news regarding immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.”