Everyone has a story of where they come from, their own “superhero origin story”. Some come from affluent households, some not so much. Some from international schools from the most exotic places in the world, while others from peabody hillbilly schools from the mountains of the Appalachian states. Public and private schools, large and small. My story has a little of everything. I was born in the suburbs of Washington D.C., and here I was exposed to the political atmosphere that formed the general career path of my life. I was born to a mixed race family, half white and half indigenous Guatemalan. Whether or not I knew it then, this last detail proved crucial to my eventual goals.
In the dusk of the summer of 2017, a decision that would dominate the last years of my life were executed: My family and I moved to Antigua, Guatemala, 3000 miles from my hometown in Maryland. Here, I expanded my knowledge of the plight of the people I call my own. The indigenous population of Guatemala was a long suffering group. Previously under the dominion of the various dictatorships that dominated the late 19th and mid 20th century, they were now suffering under the soft power of the Guatemalan Republic, a mostly European-descended government, who has no qualms with burning down any villages that disagree with their policies.
There but for the grace of God go I. The simple fact, which hadn’t hit me as strongly as it did during my time in Guatemala, is that the population that had been brutally oppressed for millenia was not just some pictures in a National Geographic magazine, or a newspaper article on the brutality of the day, but something much more personal to me. These were my aunts and uncles, my cousins and nieces, my grandmother and grandfather, and I was in there, naught for a few lucky events and instances that saved me from such a fate. I was the lucky one.
I always knew I wanted to try my hand at public policy and law, but it was at this point that I focused my career path on one area: human rights law. The brutality that was attacking the indigenous people in Guatemala were not legal, they were against basic constitutional law, both Guatemalan and worldwide. The simple fact is that there’s no one willing to defend them, attack the government head-on in the courtrooms. I want to be that person. Not just in Guatemala, but here in the United States, and all over the world.
The development of the skills I need to fight this fight will take time, stress, and work. I don’t expect to succeed at every point I can, but I expect to fight as hard as I can to achieve my goals. Whether it be in internships, law school, or anywhere, but I know what motivates me and what makes me want to keep fighting. And I’ll keep fighting.