Around this time, I think it’s important to recognize the struggle one has overcome in order to to be where they are in their life. I know you’re thinking, “bih that’s all you do!” and you’re right lol. I do talk about our struggle a lot. A lot. And I do it because it’s easy to think this career trajectory is easy. It’s not.
It’s hard becoming an attorney.
For women of color, it’s even more difficult. It shouldn’t be this hard and I don’t condone that the system is this way– like I’m encouraging some weird hazing ritual. It shouldn’t be this way, especially when the reason why it’s harder is because there are often purposeful and malicious policies imposed upon us by people that succeed when our communities fail.
But, acknowledging our individual struggle makes our victory even better. So as we’re close to celebrating dia de accion de gracias (what a mouthful lol) I want to mention that I’m thankful for my struggle. Because without it, I wouldn’t be able to confirm my perseverance and skills. I wouldn’t have a strong sense of self and faith in my ability to do what needs to get done.
I look back and think, damn! I pushed through all of that?
Through abusive step-fathers ( yes, pl), which I’m still not ready to talk about; through serious bouts of poverty (like, not-being-able-to-afford-heat-in-the-winter-s0-everyone-has-to-sleep-in-the-living-room-where-there’s-a-fireplace-and-everyone-is-covered-in-all-the-blankets-we-own-in-order-to-feel-some-semblance-of-warmth type poverty); to overcoming a system made specifically for people like me to fail (see, this entire blog).
And the beauty about this is that I recognize so many of you have surpassed and are surviving far, far more challenging situations. I see the struggles with family emergencies; health crises; the frustration of navigating through the unknown and complex educational system; and I see the constant threat and intimidation our communities face through over-policing, under-funding, and now the surge of scare tactics through immigration enforcement. I see you working through all of that and I wish that wasn’t the case.
I wish an easy road for everyone, but the truth is that I see your hustle despite these obstacles. I see the pride you put into your school, in your work, in your plans to achieve your goals. And I see the faith you have in your ability to succeed in spite of forces telling you that you can’t. I see you saying yes, even if you’ve never met a single attorney in your life–let alone an attorney of color; even when family or friends accidentally whisper that you can’t; I see you telling yourself, “I know I can.” And you can!
Things may be tough or seem too out of reach, but your goals are attainable. I can tell you this because I’ve lived it and I know you can reach them. You can become the attorney you imagine yourself capable of being by maintaining faith in your ability to succeed and not being scared to put in the work where necessary. When it seems impossible, keep reminding yourself that tough times are temporary, but JDs are forever.