I have been involved in BCM’s programs since the 4th grade. I first got involved with Bible Club and after I was old enough, I went to StreetWorkz. In high school I became a part of LiT and have grown tremendously and was even the banquet speaker in 2018. With the help of BCM, I was able to obtain my first job as a high school intern for CREATE Academy. I also volunteered at events like Serve Day with Menlo Church.
With BCM’s support, I have been able to develop my leadership skills to positively impact my community. At a BCM retreat, my leadership encouraged peers to share their hardships. I showed vulnerability by sharing my story first and this helped others feel comfortable. My commitment to the program, even when there have been changes in program management, reflects my ability to adjust and continue to lead younger members of the group.
At BCM’s annual banquet, I spoke to over 300 people about how BCM helped me during difficult times. When I was onstage, I became emotional from past hardships. The support I received was unexplainable, and in that moment, I felt true joy and hope for my future. I also talked about my personal aspirations and was overwhelmed with encouragement. BCM has helped me with countless situations and especially helped my family during COVID-19 when my mom tested positive for COVID. Leadership is difficult to cultivate as a minority student, but my eight years at BCM helped me become the supportive leader I'm proud to be today.
As a daughter of immigrants, I feel compassionate toward people of color and immigrants who endure discrimination because of their identity. My sister is in prison, and my eyes have been opened to the injustice people face in the criminal justice system. I felt helpless watching my sister and my family. I realized that if I work hard to become a lawyer, I can help my family and help others needing a voice.
After research and reflection, I decided to become a criminal justice lawyer. This would enable me to speak for people who, like my family, have little formal education and are powerless in the justice system.
Women like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who have similar backgrounds as mine, give me hope and strength to work hard inside and outside of school. At home, I strive to be a role model for my younger brother. Regardless of my circumstances I have learned to embrace my identity and chase my goals.
Like many minority students who have fewer educational opportunities, I have struggled with self-confidence and my academic potential. Yet, despite not having the same educational background as many of my peers, I have pushed myself to take and maintain an A in my AP classes my senior year. I am taking AP English Literature and AP Spanish Language and Culture because both classes will help my career as a lawyer. I have also been in AVID since sophomore year. I take advantage of opportunities at my school: meeting with teachers regularly, attending the tutoring center, and reaching out for help.
I’m part of a low-income family, and that part of my identity can be stressful. One example is helping my mom with my brother. Sometimes I have to interrupt my own work, but helping him has also made me more organized. I know how to manage my time while also prioritizing family bonding. My younger brother has no role model who has gone to college, and I want to help him realize he does not need to go down the same unhealthy path as my older siblings. My future in college will change our family because they will see that our past does not determine our future.
My challenges as a first-generation Latina American who’s dealt with poverty and a sister in the prison system could have kept me down. Instead, they pushed me to step up as a leader, go above and beyond to get good grades, and maintain my goal to help others. My ability to dream big despite my circumstance motivates my fight for justice. I want to change the system, so that it does not treat prisoners as less than human and gives people opportunities to succeed. As a lawyer, I will fight for underrepresented people, give voice to the powerless, and give back to my community.
Overall BCM has been my support system over the past several years and has helped me change my life around. Without BCM I could have ended up in the same path as my older siblings. I am extremely grateful that even with this new chapter in my life that my community at BCM will be able to support me.