b'FINDING ACCEPTANCEIN A NEW HOME(continued)shecouldntgoback.Eventhoughthecountrywho was attacked in Russia in 2013. Her mother had decriminalized homosexuality after the fallsubmitted a letter that proved to be an unexpected of the Soviet Union, Russia had passed harsh newsource of support. The letter expressed dismay anti-gaylegislationthatpenalizedessentiallythat Olga wasnt normal and revealed her moms any public acknowledgement of homosexuality.fears that Olga would be beaten or disfigured if Thenewlawslegitimizedhomophobia,andshe returned to Russia. Zach, then Eric, and later violentattacksagainsthomosexualsincreasedprojectanalystMackRamsdencompiledand dramatically. That summer, one of Olgas lesbianupdated the country conditions report on Russia friends was beaten unconscious after leaving athat was submitted with Olgas application. With party in Moscow attended by other homosexuals the help of PAIR, the legal team also conducted sobadlythatshewashospitalizedforweeks.mock interviews with Olga to prepare her for a Insteadofhelpingfindtheperpetrators,thepotentially grueling interview. policemerelylaughedwhentheylearnedtheAfterOlgasNovember2017interview,the victims were lesbian.immigrationofficerdemandedadditional As a result, Olga began to think about applying forevidence, including a letter from a psychiatrist asylum, and a friend suggested that she reach out toinstead of the psychiatric social worker who had the Political Asylum/Immigration RepresentationbeentreatingOlgaforPTSDanddepression. (PAIR)Project.ThroughtheAccesstoJusticeBy late 2018, though Olga was healing from her Fellows Program for senior and retired attorneystrauma,shewasfearfulandupsetwhenshe andjudges,PAIRreferredherasylumcasetolearned that she would be required to undergo Martha, who had conducted Olgas intake interviewa second interview that November. To help her in October 2013, and Thomas Hannigan, anotherendure another round of grilling, Olga brought a Access to Justice Fellow at PAIR who had retiredsmall stuffed animal to the interview for comfort. from another major Boston law firm. HanniganWhen she was granted asylum in January 2019, recruitedthenRopesassociateCrystalMaoOlga was extremely grateful for the opportunity to help. to live in safety, and she graciously gave her legal Olgasdelayedapplicationcreatedalegalteamflowersandtreatedthemtodinnerata challenge, requiring the team to argue that theRussian restaurant. The team plans to help her changedcircumstancesinRussiamateriallysecure an adjustment to her immigration status affected her eligibility for asylum or that thereso she can get a green card when she is eligible.were extraordinary circumstances related to herItsthemostgratifyingthingtogivesomeone delay in filing. Former Mintz projects analysts thepossibilitytomakeanewlifehere, Zach Fields, and after him, Eric Hallidayjoinedparticularlysomeonewhohassufferedso the team, which met regularly with Olga to gatherterribly, Martha said.information for the written declaration for her asylum claim, and, later, to prepare her for her Asylum Office interview. The team also gathered othersupportingdocumentsincludingOlgas medicalrecordsfromherhospitalvisitafter the demonstration and a letter from the friend 28 2019'