While my desire to be a lawyer was a mere dream, it became real on the day that my family and I lost my childhood home.
Born and raised in West Oakland, I watched my mother spend countless hours in the law library learning how to represent herself in court to keep our home from being demolished from various repairs that she could not afford.
After my father died of a heart attack, she was left alone to raise me and my five siblings in our modest family home. Throughout my childhood, I helped her assemble court briefs, attend court hearings, and prepare for inspections.
Yet in 2001, about one year after my brother was a victim to the “Oakland Riders” and a few days after a two-alarm fire destroyed my childhood home, my mother was again forced to argue before a judge to stop our house from being demolished. The judge ruled against her and our house was demolished. We were heartbroken at the court’s decision and homeless for almost 3 three years.
As I watched the bulldozer tear down all my fond memories, I made up in my mind that I would be a lawyer to help other homeowners in Oakland, so no other young girl like myself would have to experience what I did.
Losing our home kept me motivated and focused. In my last year of high school, despite being homeless, my grades increased significantly. I attended night classes while in high school and graduated from McClymonds High School in 2003.
My mother and I both walked the stage in 2004 to receive our Paralegal Certificate from Merritt College. I was so proud of her.
Before attending law school, I earned my Associate Degree from Laney College and my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, East Bay. In 2009, I started law school at John F. Kennedy College of Law.
I graduated from JFK in 2013 before taking the California Bar Exam in February 2014. God blessed me to pass the Bar on my first attempt. I could not believe it!
Now, I am a lawyer who can give back to my community in a great way with plans to practice landlord tenant law and family law. I plan to have my practice centered in Oakland, where my heart and family is.
My advice to any young person pursuing their dream is to take their time. Remember that it is your life and there is no need to rush your education. More importantly, never be afraid to know and acknowledge your academic abilities, and always ask for help when you need it.