“Nunca he conocido una abogada latina.”

“I have never met a Latina attorney,” the client told me.

“I am not a lawyer yet,” I explained, in hurried Spanish, before translating the rest of the client’s statement for my clinical supervisor. I remained focused, diligently translating case updates and questions. But afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said.

Never met a Latina attorney.

She did not know she was talking to the daughter of an immigrant and the granddaughter of political asylees. She did not know that I am the first person in my family to go to law school. She did not know I would be thinking about her statement months later as I take the oath to be sworn in as a lawyer.

My desire to pursue law developed from a deep desire to make the dream of social justice a reality for all. While my academic and extracurricular pursuits shaped my path, my greatest inspiration has been my family. Growing up, I heard stories of injustice that may seem inconceivable to some people: confiscated businesses, forced labor, and other human rights abuses that prompted my family to flee to the United States. Their story is embedded in my commitment to defending the public interest.

My pursuits, professional and academic, in addition to my family’s cultural legacy, have allowed me to become a well-rounded person with a clear purpose as to how I can use my skills and experience.

As the Dunn Legal Fellow, it is my privilege to work every day to further the mission of the ACLU of Virginia because the organization’s values mirror my own: to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person. I am proud to join an organization that has defended the rights of students, immigrants, prisoners, workers, voters, and countless others since it was founded 50 years ago. I am eager to work with our team to promote fairness, due process and justice for all Virginians.

The ACLU protects the people I always dreamed of using my law degree to serve. As an attorney at the ACLU of Virginia, I get to realize my dream of becoming a civil rights advocate.