From Addict to Advocate

They say you should never meet your heroes. Not only have I met one of mine, but I’m honored to be her friend.

It wasn’t enough for Tiffany Hilton to conquer her demons. As she battled addiction, she saw firsthand the gaps in our criminal justice system. Recovery gave her a second chance at life, and she decided others needed second chances too.

Tiffany went to law school, determined to gain the skills and knowledge to help others. While a student, she took on pro bono work to defend a transgender woman of color who was — I’m not sure this is the exact legal term — had the crap beaten out of her in prison because of staff neglect. Through mediation, she was able to settle the case.

Tiffany graduated from Stetson and now works as a public defender. Her work is profiled in “Chasing Justice,” a documentary that premiered last weekend at the Gasparilla International Film Festival.1 The photo at the top of this post is of her and me on the red carpet.

Tiffany says her goal is to run for office one day. I hope she does, and I’ll be first in line to vote for her. No matter where the future takes her, I know she’ll succeed and make life better and more just for everyone else.

1 At the end of the documentary, Tiffany quotes a line from House of Cards: “If you don’t like the way the table is set, turn over the table.” I had never heard that before. It’s such a Tiffany thing to say.