All The World Is Waiting for You
What Wonder Woman represents to immigration attorney Heather Poole and her clients
Published in 2024 Southern California Super Lawyers magazine
By Erik Lundegaard on January 9, 2024
The client in her office was a young, gay man from Thailand whose husband, a U.S. citizen, refused to sponsor him for a green card; he wanted to hold that over him. This was a spouse who was not just controlling but abusive.
“The young man comes into my office and tells me about this,” remembers Heather L. Poole, an immigration attorney in Pasadena. “And I say, ‘Let’s see if we can’t find some friends who have seen how your husband treats you. As long as you think they’re willing to be witnesses—and they’re not going to tell your husband because we want to keep this confidential and safe for you—we can get you a green card without your husband’s consent, without his knowledge, based on the abuse you’ve been suffering—under the Violence Against Women Act, which applies to both men and women.”
And that’s what happened. The young man got a green card, left the abusive husband, built a career, and was able to visit his family in Thailand again without fear he would be denied re-entry into the United States.
And one day he showed up at Poole’s office with a thank-you gift: an 8-inch statuette of Wonder Woman. “I was in this store with a lot of anime collections,” Poole recalls him saying, “I saw her, and I thought, ‘Heather loves Wonder Woman!’”
At the time, in the open bookcases behind her desk, Poole kept a collection of Wonder Woman memorabilia: cups and mugs, dolls and figurines, books, socks, PEZ dispensers, salt and pepper shakers, and a NASCAR toy car decorated with her image. She had a Wonder Woman belt and a replica of Wonder Woman’s boots.
“I loved Wonder Woman as a child,” she says. “I did read the comics, but I didn’t collect them. It was the television series, really. … I grew up on Lynda Carter and the series in the ’70s and early ’80s. And it’s always a good conversation starter to have a few [Wonder Woman] items in my office. It put people at ease—people who were talking about difficult, traumatic things, and who were nervous talking to a lawyer. It helped break the ice.”
Over time, she started receiving small Wonder Woman gifts from clients, like notebooks and pens, and sometimes larger items like the figurine.
“She’s the only superhero I know whose mission is peace,” says Poole. “Peace and truth, right? Her lasso forces everyone to tell the truth.
“She has a great story that a lot of people can identify with. She lost the love of her life but kept going. And her mission, more than [that of other superheroes], wasn’t directed by something that happened to her—she’s not motivated by anger or trauma. She did, of course, lose some of her sisters, but that was not what motivated her. So I think she really stands out. … She’s unique in that way.”
As for the recent Gal Gadot movies? “I think she did an admirable job,” Poole says. “She got Lynda Carter’s endorsement so that says a lot. They were smart to bring Lynda into the last five minutes of the last of one. That was a pleasure to see. She’s got to be in her early 70s, or approaching there, and looks phenomenal. She’s still an Amazon to me.” Poole has since moved the Wonder Woman collection to her home, and occasionally someone on a Zoom call will comment on the figurine behind her—the one the young Thai man gave her. “She’s my favorite,” Poole says of the figurine. “I like that she’s durable. When she gets knocked over, she’s not going to crack.”
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