The desire towards improvements and changes is stimulated by a particular event or scenario. It motivates and inspires us to persevere and change the outcome for the better. For my part, it started in August 2002 when two teenaged transgender teenagers were brutally murdered in the District of Columbia. The murders occurred in the Southeast section of DC – an area plagued by random violence, extreme poverty, and often defeated residents. This instigated my passion for service and creating ways to fight for these peoples’ rights.
It is through this that I want to express my intention to pursue a degree in public interest law. As a DC native, to some extent, I’ve been desensitized to violence. Local news stations advertise violence almost hourly. I listen to “Breaking News” having to do with multiple killings and robberies daily as a marketing tool used to increase ratings, and ultimately ad revenues. However, this case was the one that strike me the most because of my encounter with the victims a few hours before the incident. I had acquainted with these people during a popular event.
While I made it home safely, I didn’t know that the victims were being shot multiple times; a terrible massacre and execution at the dark streets of Southeast Washington. Realizing the gravity of the issue, I went to AU’s GLBTA Resource and convinced the director to conduct a campus candle vigil to commemorate the victims. The vigil was attended by over 500 AU students and residents of the DC Maryland and Virginia areas. The culmination of the event was a speech given by Brett Pearsons – DC Police Chief of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit.
However, I felt that this action was inadequate to address the issue; I needed to be involved more. Also, my research showed that there is an alarming increase in the number of hate crimes happening in Washington D. C. This applies to individuals who identify themselves as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender. Moreover, there is a shocking trend wherein majority of victims are people of color (black or latino), under 30, usually impoverished, and most of these crimes are not investigated as hate crimes. With these I made an important decision in my life; I wanted to take law and prosecute people who engage in such actions.
With my Juris Doctorate degree I plan to practice law with the sole purpose of eradicating discrimination and violence such as this. Both inside institutions like the US Military who prescribe discrimination through legislative means and in larger society where discrimination and hate exist as a result of stereotypes, lack of education, and non-exposure. Similarly, I wish to create equal opportunities among workers in the institutional level while at the same time clamoring for the removal of societal standards that are prejudicial in nature. I can accomplish this by legal work and cases I work into.
I believe attorneys can be the engineers of social change if each one is willing to meet the challenges; a fact I am determined to accept. In the future, I wish to participate and be associated with a federal or local government agency helping to prosecute criminals who engage in such crimes. Likewise, if possible, I wish to be contributing my efforts for a watchdog organization such the National gay & lesbian task force, Human Rights Campaign, or the ACLU I believe. These institutions are vital in the process of creating accountability and justice among these minorities within American society.
Without these types of organizations, there won’t be a check and balance in the societal system which can help legitimize the actions of individuals to pursue violent acts of discrimination and prejudice. In the end, with your acceptance, I can be able to make a difference in society as well as these groups. I know that the incident in DC was no coincidence. It was my calling to be of service to these people. With this degree, I can be able to exercise the notion that “everyone is under the law”. I feel that this is my legacy; my own imprint in effecting social change.