$10k Scholarship Finalist
I hate the number 23. For a long time, I was indifferent toward it. It was only a number. Sure, it was the number of the greatest basketball player in the world and the date of William Shakespeare’s death in 1616. However, on August 3rd, 2019, 23 became how many Mexican lives were taken in the name of white supremacy in my hometown of El Paso, Texas. The shooter’s act of terrorism and those 23 deaths made me realize the only thing distinguishing me from immigrants facing similarly harmful rhetoric was the privilege of which side of the border my mother’s womb had been. At our cores, we were the same.
Upon entering college at the University of Texas at El Paso in the Fall of 2019, I interned for a personal injury law firm. Nothing could have prepared me for being asked to assist the attorney representing an El Paso shooting victim. Reading the victim’s family members’ detailed testimonies of the shooting brought up the pain I didn’t even realize I had been harboring. What was my purpose in a world where people who look like me are targeted because they are Mexican? Reading evidence and compiling notes on that victim’s behalf allowed me to realize that my privilege was also my obligation to my community. To that end, I realized that to reverse these types of narratives and protect lives at the U.S./Mexico border, I needed to immerse myself in the field of immigration law.
I am very mindful of graduating with debt. To that point, a $10,000 scholarship would help allow me to pursue a career in the legal field to advocate for immigrants and defend against hateful cultural narratives about Hispanics, such as the narrative that incited the August 3rd attack. Upon completion of my J.D., my goal is to practice immigration law in El Paso, Texas. I want to be the first line of defense for migrants in difficult situations undergoing hardship during their immigration process and be a part of revising the surrounding narrative about communities along the U.S./Mexico border.
My bi-cultural identity and proximity to the August 3rd tragedy have made it apparent to me that the legal discourse surrounding immigrants needs to go further to protect these communities. My JD and future career as an immigration attorney will allow me to gain the education, legal framework, and skills to complete this work in my hometown in honor of the lives lost on that horrible August afternoon. So, I am not too fond of the number 23. But on August 3rd, 23 became the driving force behind my choice to defend immigrant groups and work towards changing the way the U.S./Mexico border is viewed.
As only 2% of hispanic attorneys are female, I am so proud to add to the progress of Latinas pushing this number up in the legal field.
Brooklyn Law School amplifies what is only found in NYC–creative energy, diversity, and professional opportunity. With the resources and opportunities provided to me while studying law in one of the greatest cities in the world, I truly believe I can make an impact. My goal is to leave any space better than I found it.
This accomplishment is a result of hard work, dedication, amazing faculty, and endless support from my family. I am so thankful.
Winning this scholarship would be an example to other aspiring first-generation latina law students that anything is possible. Despite all the barriers that come with entering this profession, sigue adelante!